Samsung Electronics nudged past U.S. rival Intel last year to become the world’s top chipmaker for the first time, an industry tracker said, Friday.
In its preliminary market estimate, Gartner said Samsung’s 2017 revenue jumped 52.6 percent from a year earlier to $61.2 billion (65 trillion won), accounting for 14.6 percent of the global chip market. The Korean company’s 2016 sales were $40.1 billion.
Intel, which enjoyed more than two decades of dominance dating back to 1992, saw a mere 6.7 percent increase in its sales to $57.7 billion, or a market share of 13.8 percent.
“The largest memory supplier, Samsung Electronics, gained the biggest market share and took the top position from Intel — the first time Intel has been toppled since 1992,” said Andrew Norwood, research vice president at Gartner.
The global research company said the key driver behind Samsung’s ascent as the new industry leader was a memory chip boom.
“Memory accounted for more than two-thirds of all semiconductor revenue growth in 2017, becoming the largest semiconductor category,” Norwood said.
SK hynix, the world’s second-largest memory chipmaker, came in third with a market share of 6.3 percent after its revenue growth surged by 79 percent from $14.7 billion in 2016 to $26.3 billion in 2017.
Micron Technology and Qualcomm rounded out the top five after registering market shares of 5.5 percent and 4.1 percent, respectively.
Worldwide semiconductor revenue totaled $419.7 billion in 2017, up 22.2 percent from 2016 and undersupply helped drive 64 percent revenue growth in the memory market, which accounted for 31 percent of total semiconductor revenue in 2017, according to the study.
However, Gartner said the current rankings may not last long.
“Memory pricing will weaken in 2018, initially for NAND flash and then DRAM in 2019 as China increases its memory production capacity. We then expect Samsung to lose a lot of the revenue gains it has made,” Norwood said.