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Don't expect to see a major shake-up among the world's ten biggest chip makers this year, market watcher IC Insights forecast this week, but do anticipate lesser players to get ever closer to market leader Intel, the researcher warned.

Yes, the chip giant remains at the top of totem pole with calendar 2004 sales coming in at $30.05bn, up 11 per cent on 2003's total. The company has no cause for complacency, however. With growth less than half the top ten's total - 24 per cent - Intel growth rate is the lowest among all the top-ten players.

Take Samsung, still at number two in the chart, but set to show year-on-year revenue growth of 53 per cent, going from just over a third of Intel's revenue in 2003 to more than half in 2004: $15.93bn. The reason: surging DRAM and Flash sales, said IC Insights.

Other chip makers seeing solid growth were Infineon - which IC Insights reckons will move two places up the chart, from seven to five, displacing Toshiba and STMicroelectronics - Texas Instruments and TSMC, with anticipated revenue increases of 35 per cent, 32 per cent and 31 per cent, respectively.

To be fair, Infineon's lead comes more from currency exchange rate advantages than real-terms sales hikes. In its native euro, it is expected to see only 24 per cent growth, the researcher admitted.

Eighth-placed TSMC is the only foundry in the chart. Focusing solely on companies who design as well as make semiconductors excludes TSMC, allowing Philips to enter the top ten at number ten. It too is likely to benefit from the euro-dollar exchange rate in IC Insights' calculations, as is STMicro.

Overall, the top ten will grow 24 per cent in 2004, the researcher forecast, but that's below the industry-wide figure of 28 per cent, so for now at least, the big names are starting to lose their dominance.

 

IC Insights' Forecasted 2004 Top Ten Semiconductor Ranking
2004 Rank 2003 Rank Company 2004 Sales ($m) 2003 Sales ($m) Change
1 1 Intel $30,050 $27,030 11%
2 2 Samsung $15,930 $10,400 53%
3 3 Texas Instruments $10,885 $8250 32%
4 4 Renesas $9475 $7970 19%
5 7 Infineon $9365 $6925 35%
6 5 Toshiba $9030 $7355 23%
7 6 STMicro $8715 $7170 22%
8 8 TSMC $7665 $5855 31%
9 9 NEC $6660 $5605 19%
10 10 Freescale $5650 $4630 22%
    Total $113,425 $91,910 24%

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