Semiconductor industry to grow by 4 pc in 2012: Gartner

Semiconductor industry to grow by 4 pc in 2012: Gartner

Worldwide semiconductor revenue is projected at USD 316 billion in 2012, a four per cent increase from the previous calendar year, according to technology researcher Gartner, Inc.

"The semiconductor industry is poised for a rebound starting in the second quarter of 2012 ... The inventory correction is expected to conclude this quarter, foundry utilisation rates are bottoming, and the economic outlook is stabilising," Gartner Research Vice-President Bryan Lewis said. This outlook is up from Gartner's previous forecast in the fourth quarter of 2011 for 2.2 per cent growth, the technology researcher said in a statement here.

"2012 should be a reasonably strong year for the semiconductor industry if the macroeconomic outlook stays in check," Lewis said.

"Gartner's 2012 semiconductor forecast of four per cent growth assumes the European debt issues stay contained, Iran/Israel tensions stay in check, and solid growth from China," he added.

In the memory sector, dynamic random-access memory (DRAM) pricing is expected to improve beginning in the second quarter of 2012. The DRAM market will show a slight revenue increase in 2012 (up 0.9 per cent from 2011) after being the worst-performing market in 2011, declining 25 per cent.

DRAM prices were down about 50 per cent in 2011, and Gartner analysts expect pricing to rebound in part due to semiconductor maker Elpida filing bankruptcy protection.

NAND flash memory, however, is one of the fastest-growing device types in 2012, with revenue forecast to grow 18 per cent.

Analysts attribute the NAND flash growth to a strong increase in mobile consumer devices and solid-state drives.

Media tablet unit production is forecast to increase 78 per cent over 2011 and semiconductor revenue from the tablets will reach USD 9.5 billion in 2012. Quad-core processors and higher-resolution displays will be mainstream for tablets in 2012.

PC unit production in 2012 is projected to increase 4.7 per cent, and semiconductor revenue from PCs will reach USD 57.8 billion. Mobile phone unit production is expected to grow 6.7 per cent, with semiconductor revenue for mobile phones totalling USD 57.2 billion in 2012.

Gartner analysts said further innovation focused on location and context will require advances in sensing, processing, displays, connectivity and power efficiency. 

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