Semi sales growth boosted by mobile market

Posted by Andrea Petrou

The global semi foundry market raked in $34.6 billion in 2012, an increase of 16.2 percent from 2011, according to Gartner.

The analyst house said that 2012 was also the year that semiconductor revenue for mobile devices surpassed that of PCs and notebooks, as well as marking the first year that advanced technology for mobile applications drove the foundry revenue.

And 2012 continued to please the industry with major foundries improving the yield of 28 nanometer (nm) technology, but also many foundries fine-tuned the device performance of legacy nodes.

TSMC continued its reign as the number one semiconductor company as a result of its success in the advanced technology nodes sector. Strong performance on 32 nm yields and the availability of sub-45-nm wafer capacity at the Dresden, Germany, fabs allowed Globalfoundries to advance to second place, while UMC's market share decreased due to reduced wafer shipments.

Driven by the wafers consumed by Apple's A6 and A6X chips, Samsung moved up four spots to tfifth position with 175.5 percent growth in 2012.

The increase in the foundry business was attributed to the restocking of inventory by customers, along with the increased demand of smartphones, in which wafers for advanced technology are required.

Gartner also pointed out that in the second half of 2012, foundries performed better than the seasonal norm due to the need of 40 nm wafers as a result of the unexpected fast rise of low-cost smartphones in China and other emerging countries.

It said those foundries with sufficient wafer capacity and a good yield of 40 nm and 28 nm technologies have achieved solid revenue growth.