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Samsung is on track to overtake Intel as the world’s largest chipmaker in 2017

By Koh Wanzi - on 5 May 2017, 6:21pm

Samsung is on track to overtake Intel as the world’s largest chipmaker in 2017

Image Source: Samsung

Intel’s name is practically synonymous with silicon chips, and it has been the world’s largest chipmaker since January 1993. The company continued to stay on top over the next decade, buoyed by the release of the original Pentium CPU and the mass adoption of Windows 95 and 98.

The chip giant is still growing now, and for all the talk about the decline of the PC and end of Moore’s Law, it still enjoys year-on-year revenue increases from chips for PCs, servers, and IoT devices.

But Intel could see its number one spot taken in 2017, at least according to a report by IC Insights. Samsung is drawing close to Santa Clara on the back of its huge business making and selling phones, computers and other gadgets.

Samsung also makes parts for other companies’ products, such as DRAM and NAND flash. As it turns out, demand for the latter two is ballooning at double-digit rates, and Samsung is reaping the full benefits. For one, it just announced its biggest quarterly net profit since 2013, largely thanks to the aforementioned DRAM and NAND memory chips.

If both companies perform in line with expectations for Q2 2017, Samsung’s semiconductor sales could reach US$14.6 billion, edging out Intel’s US$14.4 billion. That may not seem like that much, but the tailwinds pushing Samsung forward show no indication of slowing down.

Image Source: IC Insights

Demand for DRAM and NAND flash is driven primarily by the growing primacy of mobile devices over PCs, which require both components. The higher prices brought about by the ongoing NAND shortage is a nice bonus, which analysts attribute to higher demand from Chinese smartphone manufacturers, increasing SSD popularity, and a shaky shift from 2D to 3D NAND.

The Korean company even manufacturers SoCs used by other firms including Apple, and it says it is seeing robust demand for 14nm SoCs, smartphone chips and image sensors.

So even if Samsung doesn’t overtake Intel in Q2 as projected, there’s a good chance it will happen soon anyway. 

Source: IC Insights

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