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Trendforce Ranks The Top Ten Fabless Semiconductor Companies

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It’s been a good year for fabless integrated circuit (IC) design companies. Without the burden of owning and running a fab, they’ve been free to ship their designs to companies like TSMC to do the hard work of creating their silicon offspring. Trendforce has released Q1 2022 revenue summaries for the biggest fabless companies, and business is good. Qualcomm tops the charts, by a lot, but AMD and Marvell showed the largest year-over-year (YoY) gains.

Overall, the top ten companies pulled in a combined revenue of $39.43 billion in the first quarter alone. That represents an impressive 44 percent growth year-over-year. Qualcomm is the 800 pound gorilla here, raking in almost a quarter of that on its own. It earned $9.55 billion in the first quarter, which represents a 52 percent growth rate YoY. Trendforce says this is due to its handset, IoT, and automotive divisions. Nvidia had a banner year too due to the increased usage of GPUs in data centers. The report states Nvidia’s data center business is so strong it has surpassed its gaming revenue for the first time. Each division is responsible for approximately 45 percent of Nvidia’s overall earnings.

Trendforce’s top ten fabless IC design rankings.

AMD has notably moved up in the rankings as of Q1. It now holds the fourth spot and displaces MediaTek in the process. It’s being helped by its acquisition of Xilinx, which it completed in February of 2022. However, the report notes that even without the acquisition it’s still doing record breaking business. Its annual growth is the second highest in the list, at 71 percent. AMD has been bolstered by its enterprise, semi-custom, and embedded business.

The only company with a higher annual growth is Marvell, which was just one percentage point higher at 72 percent. The company’s purchase of Innovium allowed it to boost its data center revenue by a surprising 125 percent YoY. Despite these gains, it’s still no match for the bigger companies, as it earned  just $1.41 billion for the quarter.

Trendforce says despite the rosy numbers from the first quarter, the second quarter is traditionally slower. In addition to historical trends predicting a sluggish quarter, there are other forces conspiring against the rising tide. They are sadly numerous, and include rising inflation, the war in Ukraine, COVID-19 lockdowns, and weak consumer confidence. Indeed, the most recent measurement of consumer sentiment was the lowest ever recorded. That’s going back all the way to 1952, and is also influenced by the current gas pricing situation.

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