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Samsung regains top spot in 2Q21 chip rankings

Samsung Electronics replaced Intel as the number one quarterly semiconductor supplier in the second quarter of 2021, according to IC Insights.

Driven by surging demand and rising prices for DRAM and flash memory, Samsung saw its total semiconductor sales increase 19% sequentially to US$20.3 billion in the second quarter, moving it past Intel and into first place to become the world's largest semiconductor supplier for the quarter, IC Insights indicated.

Samsung was previously ranked as the top semiconductor supplier through much of 2017 and 2018 when the memory market experienced its last cyclical upturn. The company last enjoyed quarterly sales in excess of US$20 billion in 2018 during the peak of the previous memory upturn. Demand for memory ICs is forecast to continue this quarter with Samsung's semiconductor sales projected to rise another 10% to US$22.3 billion in the third quarter of 2021, further widening its lead over Intel, IC Insights said.

Also moving up in IC Insights' second-quarter ranking were Nvidia and MediaTek. Nvidia's 14% revenue surge came on the strength of continued growth of the company's important data center and gaming segments. Meanwhile, MediaTek's sales climbed 17% sequentially in the second quarter, continuing an impressive sales upturn driven by strong demand for 5G smartphones and consumer multimedia systems that first ramped up during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

Memory suppliers SK Hynix and Micron Technology also enjoyed strong quarterly sales increases of 21% and 16%, respectively, in the second quarter of 2021, though their positions in the top-10 remained unchanged, IC Insights noted.

Meanwhile, sales at Intel, TSMC and Qualcomm grew by a rather unremarkable 3% in the second quarter of 2021, and Broadcom's sales increased only 1%. Intel's semiconductor sales were US$19.3 billion in the second quarter, far greater than most others but its 3% growth rate was far smaller than some of its key rivals, IC Insights said. AMD was ranked just outside the top 10 list with sales that surged 12% in the second quarter of 2021.

It took US$4.3 billion in semiconductor sales to be ranked as a top-10 semiconductor supplier in the second quarter of 2021, according to IC Insights. Collectively, these 10 suppliers saw their combined sales rise 10% sequentially to US$95.5 billion in the second quarter, outpacing the 8% growth for the total semiconductor industry.