Qualcomm falters at top of fabless ranking

December 12, 2016 // By Peter Clarke
Qualcomm CDMA Technologies is set to remain the leading fabless chip company in 2016 despite falling revenue, according to a forecast from TrendForce Corp. (Taipei, Taiwan).

Qualcomm and several other top ten fabless chip companies will experience declining revenue. Broadcom Ltd., now including Avago, is expected to be runner-up although revenue is down compared with the combined sales of Broadcom and Avago in 2015.

The successful companies are MediaTek in third place and Nvidia and Realtek, further down the ranking. MediaTek's success is based on strong penetration of the Chinese smartphone market. Nvidia has established itself in the gaming market and is also benefiting from revenues in datacenters and automotive. AMD has achieved some success with its semi-custom chip business and an expansion from the weak personal computer business into embedded applications.

Top ten fabless chip companies ranked by forecast 2016 revenue. Source: TrendForce.

TrendForce expects Qualcomm, Broadcom, Marvell, Novatek and Dialog to post annual revenue declines in 2016.

There are two major Chinese fabless chip companies – HiSilicon and Spreadtrum – that do not release financial results to the public. For that reason, these two companies are not present in TrendForce’s 2016 ranking. Nonetheless, analysis indicates that HiSilicon and Spreadtrum are expected to do well this year on account of the strong growth in China's smartphone market. HiSilicon’s annual revenue for 2016 is estimated around $3.98 billion, an increase of 11.8 percent from 2015. Spreadtrum's revenue for this year is estimated around $1.91 billion, translating to an annual growth of 8.1 percent.

This would put HiSilicon sixth in the ranking and Spreadtrum ninth.

Related links and articles:

www.trendforce.com

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