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Intel on track to take Samsung’s semiconductor crown in 2019

Intel wafer

Intel is set to take the semiconductor supplier top spot in 2019, despite not making any more money than last year. In fact, it sold a little less. How’d it do it? It’s all down to the colossal dip in sales for Samsung and the wider memory manufacturing market as a whole.

IC Insights has published its forecasted end-of-year rankings for the top semiconductor companies worldwide. Intel is now in the number one spot, followed by Samsung, and TSMC – pure-play foundry to the stars (including AMD and Nvidia) – comes in third. Both Intel and TSMC gained positions in 2019, and each company has shifted up a single place in the table. Samsung and SK Hynix, however, have both dipped a rank.

That’s all down to the significant dip in memory industry sales – DRAM and NAND – during the year. Average selling prices were down some 20% for just Q3 2019 alone according to DRAMExchange. The top 15 altogether are expected to lose out on 15% of their 2018 revenue when January 1, 2020 rolls around. SK Hynix, primarily a memory manufacturer, has been hit worst of all with a 38% plunge in sales revenue.

But Intel, despite a shaky year of ongoing supply constraints and increased competition (especially for the title of best CPU for gaming), has managed to weather the storm. Intel is forecast at roughly $69bn and change – just pennies below what it earned in 2018.

Samsung sits at $55bn – down from $$78bn in 2018.

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TSMC is also set to gain in 2019 at $34bn, a marginal increase over 2018. The company is in charge of 7nm production for AMD’s Navi GPUs and Ryzen/EPYC CPUs, and is planning on expanding its advance process node manufacturing capability to meet growing demand.

Nvidia also makes the list in 10th place. Since it’s reliant on TSMC to manufacture its chips, and Samsung for its 7nm GPUs next year, it will always act as a tributary for the larger foundries.

Samsung usurped Intel’s top spot back in 2017, and managed to hold on to it 2018. Intel had previously held onto the semiconductor crown since 1993.

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