The world’s top 15 semiconductors, Huawei HiSilicon was forced out

Yesterday, the well-known analyst firm ICinsights released the performance of the world’s top 15 semiconductor companies in the first quarter of 2021.

According to the report, the world’s top 15 semiconductor (IC and OSD optoelectronic, sensor and discrete) manufacturers achieved a 21% year-on-year revenue growth in the first quarter. By region, the U.S. remains the strongest in the world, with eight local-based manufacturers making the list. In addition, South Korea, China Taiwan and Europe each have two on the list.

 The world’s top 15 semiconductors, Huawei HiSilicon was forced out

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According to the type of manufacturers, according to the ICinsights report, among the top 15 manufacturers are Qualcomm, Broadcom, Nvidia, MediaTek, AMD and Apple. The pure-play foundry is TSMC. Apart from these few manufacturers, other manufacturers are all IDMs. The report further highlights that if pure-play fab TSMC is excluded, then Netherlands-based NXP would make the list. According to the report, in Q1 2021, NXP’s revenue was $2.503 billion.

It is worth mentioning that in the Q1 list in 2021, only the top-ranked Intel’s revenue declined year-on-year. In addition, Huawei HiSilicon, which ranked tenth in the same period last year, fell out of this list because of four rounds of US sanctions.

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Huawei HiSilicon forced out

According to the statistical report of ICinsights, in the 2018 semiconductor TOP15 list, the above-mentioned manufacturers from Europe, America, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan are still in the market. But in Q1 2019, Huawei HiSilicon from mainland China jumped to the top 15 in the global semiconductor industry for the first time (Figure 3). According to the ICinsgihts report, Huawei HiSilicon’s revenue in Q1 2019 increased from $1.25 billion in the same period in 2018 to $1.755 billion, a year-on-year increase of 41%. The company’s global semiconductor ranking also jumped from 25th in the same period in 2018 to 11th.


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It can be seen from the reports at the time that the huge increase in HiSilicon’s turnover was related to Huawei’s increased adoption of self-developed chips in the company’s products at that time. For well-known reasons, Huawei started the self-reliance. In May 2019, the United States included Huawei in the “entity list”, which further increased Huawei’s adoption of self-developed products, which also helped Huawei HiSilicon to further enhance the company’s position in the global semiconductor industry.


Figure 4

As shown in the chart above, according to ICinsgihts, Huawei HiSilicon’s year-on-year sales in 1H20 increased by 49%, which also made it the first Chinese semiconductor supplier to rank among the top 10 in the world.

At the same time, ICisights also predicted in its report that the time to enter the top ten may be short-lived. Because after the US launched the second round of sanctions, semiconductor suppliers were prohibited from using US-made equipment to produce chips for Huawei/HiSilicon, milk thought that the company’s chip manufacturers (for example, TSMC) could only accept Huawei until May 15. Today’s order, and chip production will also end on September 15. Yu Chengdong, president of Huawei’s consumer department, also said last year that the Kirin 9000 may be the last generation of Huawei’s high-end Kirin chips, because no manufacturer can produce high-end chips for Huawei anymore.

In the follow-up development, we also saw that Huawei HiSilicon quickly dropped out of this list after briefly ranking tenth in the world. There is also a shortage of HiSilicon surveillance and TV chips in the market, as evidenced by the slump in Huawei’s smartphone business.

 Soaring MediaTek and Qualcomm

As can be seen from the list, while Huawei HiSilicon was in trouble, there were two chip factories whose performance was soaring, namely Qualcomm, which ranked sixth, and MediaTek, which ranked tenth. According to the report of ICinsgihts, the revenue growth of the two in Q1 in 2021 will be 55% and 90% respectively. On the one hand, such an increase in revenue is related to the increase in market demand after China controls the epidemic. On the other hand, Huawei HiSilicon is subject to control, and Huawei has an important relationship with the two suppliers of Honor, which was split from Huawei.

At the Qualcomm Technology Cooperation Summit held in Beijing a few days ago, Honor CEO Zhao Mingliang also said that the company will establish a close cooperative relationship with Qualcomm. In an interview with the media, he also pointed out that since Honor became independent on November 17, 2020, Qualcomm is the first batch of manufacturers to quickly complete the supply certification of Honor and sign a comprehensive supply agreement. He also revealed that Honor’s chip supply will fully recover from June, and the current market share has recovered to 8%.

Financial data disclosed by Qualcomm also showed that the company’s adjusted revenue in the second fiscal quarter of 2021 was $7.93 billion, a 52% increase from the same period last year. Among them, the Qualcomm technology licensing business contributed $1.61 billion in revenue, a year-on-year increase of 51%; the smart chip business sales were $4.07 billion, a year-on-year increase of 53%. In addition, Qualcomm’s RF chip business revenue was $903 million, automotive business revenue was $240 million, and IoT business revenue was $1.073 billion.

According to Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf, the reason for the rapid growth of the company’s performance is related to the continued growth of global smartphone demand and the enhancement of Qualcomm’s non-mobile phone business revenue capabilities. Qualcomm will also be in a favorable position for continued growth in the future.

Looking at MediaTek, financial data shows that MediaTek’s revenue in the first quarter of 2021 was NT$108.033 billion, an increase of 12.1% month-on-month and a year-on-year increase of 77.5%. Net profit was NT$25.777 billion, up 72.3% month-on-month and 344.1% year-on-year. MediaTek said that the company’s performance in the first quarter was mainly due to the increase in the market share of 5G smartphones and Wi-Fi 6, as well as the growth brought by Chromebooks and consumer electronics products.

MediaTek Chairman Cai Mingjie emphasized in the company’s 2020 annual report that MediaTek technology has driven 2 billion devices in the world in 2020, and ranked the fourth largest chip design company in the world. In an environment with limited production capacity, power management chips have become another key component.

He further pointed out that in terms of market expansion, by promoting various products into new fields, the world’s major Android smartphone brands have adopted 5G Dimensity series chips, and the company’s 5G independent baseband chips are compatible with Intel and international operators. Cooperation, expanding to notebook computers, network client devices and other applications, this year into mass production.

In addition, MediaTek has been selected as the test platform for WiFi 6E, and has begun to actively invest in the next-generation WiFi 7 to prepare for future technology upgrades.

The market technology upgrade also increases the requirements for power management. MediaTek has a complete power management solution. In the environment where the global demand for various Electronic products is increasing but the production capacity is limited, power management chips have become another key component and have grown steadily. .

In addition, MediaTek has successively deployed in the enterprise-level market. Through high-speed transmission of SerDes and data computing technology, it has jointly developed enterprise- and data-center-level customized chips with customers, and acquired Intel’s Enpirion enterprise-level power management product line, which will enable strategic product portfolio More complete, and lay the foundation for future high-end enterprise-level product business.


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Market research firm Omdia said in an earlier report that in 2020, MediaTek’s smartphone chip shipments reached 351.8 million, an increase of 47.8% over 2019, and its market share jumped from 17.2% last year to 27.2%. It also helped them surpass Qualcomm as the world’s largest supplier of smartphone chips. The company’s global ranking also jumped to the top ten.

  Rising Nvidia and AMD

As mentioned at the beginning of the article, in the Q1 list in 2021, only Intel’s revenue fell year-on-year, which is a bit unbelievable at the moment of the strong recovery. But that’s understandable given the problems the company has encountered with manufacturing processes, chips and server chips.

Also, this has to do with the aggressiveness of AMD and Nvidia.

First look at AMD, according to financial report statistics, the first quarter financial report of fiscal year 2021. , AMD’s revenue was $3.445 billion, an increase of 93% compared with $1.786 billion in the same period last year, and an increase of 6% compared with $3.244 billion in the previous quarter; net profit was $555 million, compared with $1.62 in the same period last year billion US dollars, an increase of 243%. The company’s global ranking in Q1 2021 also jumped from 18 to 11.

From a specific business perspective, AMD’s CPU and GPU business sales rose 46% to $2.1 billion. This is mainly due to the increase in demand for desktops and notebooks under the epidemic. According to reports, in terms of CPU, the company’s new Zen 3 architecture Ryzen 5000 CPU revenue growth rate is twice as fast as the previous generation, and this year’s sales of this series are expected to increase by 50% compared with the previous generation. As for GPU, AMD CEO Su Zifeng said that demand for new GPUs will be very strong.

And the enterprise embedded and semi-custom chip segment, which covers chips for data centers and game consoles, nearly tripled to $1.35 billion. For comparison, it was $348 million a year earlier. “The company achieved another quarter of record server processor revenue, as Epyc server processor sales more than doubled year-over-year and achieved double-digit growth in a row,” Su said at the earnings call.

In Su Zifeng’s view, driven by cloud computing, enterprise and HPC (high performance computing) businesses, AMD’s data center product business will usher in a substantial increase in revenue this year.

According to Mercury Research, after a six-year scramble to return to the data center, AMD’s X86 processors had an 11.5% share of data center sales in the first quarter of 2021, with a solid And a solid roadmap for growing but recovering rival Intel.

Once the company completes the acquisition of Xilinx, they will have more leverage in the competition with intel.


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Looking at Nvidia, because of the popularity of artificial intelligence, they have reached their peak in the past few years. But the vision of the GPU giants is not limited to this. After completing the acquisition of Mellanox, they released DPUs, Grace processors, and the ongoing Arm acquisition, exposing their ambitions for data centers.

In the eyes of foreign media, although many people now want to challenge NVIDIA in the GPU field, the 2.2 million developers they have based on the promotion of CUDA are their treasure trove.

The report pointed out that NVIDIA’s introduction of CUDA in 2006 coincided with the period when NVIDIA began to lead AMD in market share. CUDA opens the door for NVIDIA to apply GPU technology to the growing demand for high-performance computing, including autonomous vehicles and other AI-related applications.

NVIDIA has a vast network of more than 2.2 million developers worldwide using CUDA. Since NVIDIA already has a broad professional customer base using its software and hardware, it is a big boost for NVIDIA when it launches new chip offerings. On the gaming side, NVIDIA claims to have 140 million GeForce gaming GPUs installed.

As for Arm’s acquisition, considering Arm’s efforts in high-performance computing and Arm server chips in recent years, Nvidia wants to use this to strengthen its CPU shortcomings and bypass Intel’s restrictions. This kind of original intention is understandable, but considering the opposition of many manufacturers, including Qualcomm, to this acquisition, as well as the attention of major regulatory agencies. It will be a challenging process for the GPU giant.

Overseas analysts also said that manufacturers such as Google and Amazon use NVIDIA’s GPUs, but because these products are cyclical, NVIDIA’s growth in data centers may slow down in the future. Intel’s Q1 slump in the data center business is one such reflection.

 write at the end

In fact, in this list, we actually saw double-digit growth of ST, TI and Infineon. This aspect is related to their betting on markets with higher gross profit margins such as industry and enterprises. On the other hand, the intensified stocking of major terminal factories in the past year and the shortage of stocks that have been highly concerned recently are also one of the driving forces for their growth.

But all in all, as can be seen from the list, the competition around smartphone chips will become more and more intense in the future, the competition in data centers will continue unabated, and the game in storage will continue.

For Chinese semiconductors, when will the next semiconductor company enter the world’s top ten, this is one of everyone’s concerns.

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