IC Insights released a listing of the 2017 top 50 fabless IC suppliers. Figure shows the top 10 ranking of fabless IC suppliers for 2017...
Throughout 2017, DRAM manufacturers faced pressure to boost output of their devices—particularly high-performance DRAM used in data center servers...
Intel accounted for 36% of the top-10 R&D spending and about 23% of the $56.5 billion total worldwide semiconductor R&D expenditures in 2016, according to the 20th anniversary 2017 edition of The McClean Report that was released in January 2017. Figure shows IC Insights’ ranking of the top semiconductor R&D spenders based on semiconductor manufacturers and fabless suppliers with $1 billion or more spent on R&D in 2016.
Intel’s R&D spending is lofty and exceeded the combined R&D spending of the next three companies on the list. However, the company’s R&D expenditures increased 5% in 2016, below its 9% average increase in spending per year since 2011 and less than its 8% annual growth rate since 2001, according to the new report.
Underscoring the growing cost of developing new IC technologies, Intel’s R&D-to-sales ratio has climbed significantly over the past 20 years. In 2010, Intel’s R&D spending as a percent of sales was 16.4%, compared to 22.4% in 2016. Intel’s R&D-to-sales ratios were 14.5% in 2005, 16.0% in 2000, and just 9.3% in 1995.
Among other top-10 R&D spenders, Qualcomm—the industry’s largest fabless IC supplier—remained the second-largest R&D spender, a position it first achieved in 2012. Qualcomm’s semiconductor-related R&D spending was down 7% in 2016 compared to an adjusted total in 2015 that included expenditures by U.K.-based CSR and Ikanos Communications in Silicon Valley, which were acquired in 2015.
Broadcom Limited—which is the new name of Avago Technologies after it completed its $37 billion acquisition of U.S-based Broadcom Corporation in early 2016—was third in the R&D ranking. Excluding Broadcom’s expenditures in 2015, Avago by itself was ranked 13th in R&D spending that year (at nearly $1.1 billion).
Memory IC leader Samsung was ranked fourth in R&D spending in 2016 with expenditures increasing 11% from 2015. Among the $1 billion-plus “R&D club,” the South Korean company had the lowest investment-intensity level with 6.5% of its total semiconductor revenues going to chip-related research and development in 2016, which was up from just 6.2% in 2015.
Toshiba in Japan moved up two positions to fifth as it aimed its R&D spending at 3D NAND flash memories. Foundry giant Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) was sixth with a 7% increase in 2016 R&D spending, followed by fabless IC supplier MediaTek in Taiwan, which moved up one position to seventh with 13% growth in R&D expenditures. U.S.-based memory supplier Micron Technology advanced from ninth to eighth in the ranking with its research and development spending rising 5% in 2016.
Rounding out the top 10, NXP in Europe was ninth in 2016, slipping from sixth in 2015 and SK Hynix grew its R&D spending 9% to complete the list. Fabless Nvidia just missed the cut with a 10% increase in expenditures for research and development.
Semiconductor consolidation played a factor in industry R&D spending rising just 1% in 2016 to a record-high $56.5 billion after a 1% increase in 2015 to $56.2 billion. The slowdown in industry-wide R&D spending growth also corresponded with weakness in worldwide semiconductor sales, which declined 1% in 2015 and then recovered with a low single-digit increase in 2016.
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