China, Europe gain share in fabless chip market

March 27, 2018 // By Peter Clarke
China, Europe gain share in fabless chip market
The global fabless chip market was worth 27 percent of the world's IC sales in 2017, about $100 billion, in 2017, according to IC Insights.

The total was up 11 percent from about $90 billion in 2016 (see European share of fabless chip market halves to 1%).

When organized by company headquarters location it can be seen that US companies accounted for 53 percent of the market, as they did in 2017. This figure is down from 69 percent in 2010, due in part to the acquisition of Broadcom by Singapore-based Avago. Now renamed as Broadcom Ltd., the company is in the process of relocating its headquarters entirely in the US, which will boost the US standing in fabless domain up to about 69 percent, IC Insights said.

China and Europe boosted their market share at the expense of Taiwan in 2017. China's share went from 5 percent in 2010 to 10 percent in 2016 and 11 percent in 2017. There were 10 Chinese companies in the top 50 list of fabless chip companies in 2017 (see Chinese break into top ten fabless ranking).

Chinese firms joining the ranks of top 50 fabless. Source: IC Insights.

This is down from 11 in 2017 because of the choice to count RDA Microelectronics and Spreadtrum as one entity under the name of parent Unigroup. With sales of $2.1 billion in 2017 Unigroup becomes the ninth largest fabless chip company, according to IC Insights. If the internal transfers of HiSilicon, ZTE and Datang are excluded then the Chinese share of the fabless market only measures about 6 percent of global supply. Over 90 percent of HiSilicon sales go to its parent company Huawei.

Next: Europe up

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