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Second-tier Ethernet IC vendors see shipments rise for IIoT applications

As demand for Ethernet ICs continues to grow robustly on proliferating IoT applications, Taiwan's second-tier networking chips vendors including Asix Electronics under MediaTek and IC Plus affiliated with United Microelectronics (UMC) have seen their shipments ramp up month by month in 2021 with gross margins also rising significantly, according to industry sources.

While the massive market for consumer Ethernet ICs is mainly dominated by leading networking chipmakers including MediaTek and Realtek Semiconductor, second-tier vendors focus more on offerings for industrial IoT (IIoT), security and surveillance, and infrastructure applications and they start to enjoy shipment increases along with the rapid development of IIoT and other industrial automation solutions, the sources said.

Asix Electronics will have a chance to see its 2021 revenues double from 2020 on sharp shipment expansions so far this year. Its revenues for the first three quarters of the year jumped 78.9% on year to NT$897 million (US$32.26 million), with net earnings shooting up 159.5% on year reaching NT$261 million.

The company has successfully forayed into the market for smart robots with its industrial Ethernet ICs, adding fresh growth momentum to its revenues in 2022, the sources said.

IC Plus, focusing on non-consumer Ethernet ICs with high added values, saw its average gross margin rise to over 70% in the first three quarters of 2021 from earlier levels of around 65% due to increased shipments of chip solutions for industrial automation, smart door security and smart grid applications.