Fabless companies keep pace with chipmakers in 2003

Worldwide public fabless revenue rose 16.2% to $24.2 billion in 2003, keeping pace with overall industry growth of 18% and representing 16.6% of total semiconductor industry sales, according to a recent report from the Fabless Semiconductor Association (FSA).

Qualcomm’s CDMA technologies (QCT) division led public fabless companies in sales for 4Q03 and for the year, followed by Broadcom and NVidia. Total net income for fabless companies in 2003 was $567 million, more than half of which came from three companies: MediaTek ($143.5 million), SanDisk ($87.8 million), and Xilinx ($69.5 million).

US companies accounted for 78% of total fabless revenue in 2003, followed by Taiwan (18%), Europe and Japan (2% each), and China and Canada (0.4% each). Out of 131 public fabless companies worldwide, five Taiwanese companies placed in the top 20: MediaTek (#6, $1.1 billion), VIA Technologies (#11, $598 million), Sunplus Technology (#16, $325 million), NovaTek (#18, $320 million), and Realtek Semiconductor (#20, $272 million). The strong push from Taiwan (and Asia in general) is due largely to the region’s significance on the semiconductor supply chain, according to FSA executive director Jodi Shelton.

Another statistic of interest: Worldwide fabless market capitalization reached $133.8 billion, with 21% of all companies having market caps exceeding $1.0 billion.


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