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Taiwan's TSMC set to rank as world's No. 3 chip supplier

TSMC joins several other Taiwanese tech companies in raising salaries by at least 3%.

TSMC joins several other Taiwanese tech companies in raising salaries by at least 3%. (CNA photo)

Contract chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) is expected to rank as the world's third largest integrated circuit supplier in 2019, while MediaTek Inc., a Taiwanese IC designer, is forecast to take the No. 15 spot, according to a U.S.-based market information advisory firm.

In a research report posted on its website Monday, IC Insights said TSMC, bucking the downturn in combined sales suffered by the world's top 15 IC suppliers, is expected to post a 1 percent year-on-year increase in revenue which is estimated to hit US$34.50 billion in 2019.

The sales growth should help TSMC reclaim the No. 3 spot in 2019, up one notch from a year earlier, IC Insights said.

TSMC will replace dynamic random access memory (DRAM) chipmaker SK Hynix Inc. of South Korea in the third spot, with the Korean manufacturer looking at a fall in revenue of 38 percent from a year earlier to US$22.89 billion in 2019 as DRAM prices plunged due to a global supply glut, IC insights said.

In 2019, the top 15 IC suppliers will generate an estimated US$314.89 billion in sales, down 15 percent from a year earlier in the wake of falling demand at a time of trade friction between the United States and China.

The IC Insights' forecast of TSMC's sales for 2019 is in line with the chipmaker's earlier guidance, which said sales could rise "slightly" from 2018 to outperform the global semiconductor industry.

Market analysts said TSMC has benefited from its efforts at developing advanced technology processes, in particular the 7 nanometer technology for production of high-end smartphones and high performance computing devices.

According to IC Insights, MediaTek is expected to generate US$7.95 billion in sales in 2019, up about 1 percent from 2018, when revenue stood at US$7.89 billion.

Bucking the global downturn, MediaTek benefited from stable smartphone chip sales, while an increase in shipments of its power management chips and application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC), which is designed for special applications, also helped the IC designer, analysts said.

Despite the slight increase in sales, MediaTek is expected to see its ranking fall one spot from a year earlier in 2019, IC Insights said.

In 2019, U.S.-based semiconductor giant Intel Corp. is expected to return to the No. 1 spot, up one spot from a year earlier, as the company is forecast to post US$69.83 billion in sales, little changed from a year earlier, according IC Insights.

Samsung Electronics Corp. of South Korea is expected to yield the No. 1 spot and fall to second place in 2019, with falling DRAM prices dragging down its revenue by 29 percent from a year earlier to US$55.61 billion, IC Insights said.

U.S.-based DRAM maker Micron Technology Co. is forecast to see sales fall 35 percent from a year earlier to US$19.96 billion at a time of a deteriorating DRAM market, IC Insights said. Micron is set to take the fifth spot this year.

Broadcom Inc., a U.S. IC designer, is expected to rank No. 6 supplier in 2019 with its revenue falling 3 percent from a year earlier to US$17.71 billion, ahead of Qualcomm Inc., another U.S. IC designer, (US$14.30 billion), Texas Instruments Inc. of the U.S. (US$13.55 billion), Japan's Kioxia Holdings Corp., formally known as Toshiba Memory Holdings Corp. (US$11.28 billion), and American IC designer Nvidia Corp. (US$10.51 billion), IC Insights said.