Do we have a changing of the guard in store when it comes to worldwide semiconductor production? If a new report is to be believed, it looks as though Samsung is poised to overtake Intel as the world’s largest chipmaker.
Intel has held the sales crown for nearly a quarter-century, and its processors are used in an overwhelming majority of notebooks, desktops, and servers in use around the globe. However, booming demand for various chips used in smartphones is giving Samsung a boost to surge past Intel.
“If achieved, this would mark a milestone achievement not only for Samsung, specifically, but for all other competing semiconductor producers who have tried for years to supplant Intel as the world’s largest supplier,” stated IC Insights.
Since the “largest” crown is based on overall sales, we should mention that the reason for Samsung’s surge is increasing demand for DRAM and NAND chips that are required for smartphones. Consumers, especially in China, are craving smartphones with more RAM and larger onboard storage which plays right into Samsung’s strengths. In addition, DRAM and NAND flash pricing has surged 40 percent and 45 percent respectively in Q1 2017 compared to the same period a year ago.
Further compounding matters is that IC Insights projects 39 percent growth in the DRAM market for 2017, while the NAND market will witness 25 percent growth.
Intel is expected to post Q2 2017 sales of $14.4 billion, while Samsung could just squeak by with $14.9 billion. Given Samsung’s momentum and the advantage of higher DRAM/NAND pricing, IC Insights also thinks that the company could possibly overtake Intel in full calendar year 2017 sales as well.
However, if memory prices free-fall in the latter half of 2017, Intel could very well regain the sales crown.