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semiconductor sales rankings HiSilicon enters top ten on the semiconductor 'league table', a first for China

From Luke James

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HiSilicon, the in-house chip design company of Huawei, has reportedly become the first ever semiconductor company in mainland China to enter the top 10 in terms of its global sales.

HiSilicon enters the top 10 global semiconductor sales rankings for Q1 2020.
HiSilicon enters the top 10 global semiconductor sales rankings for Q1 2020.
(Source: gemeinfrei / Pexels)

This has been reported by U.S. semiconductor market research company IC Insights. IC reports that HiSilicon’s sales surged by 54 percent year-on-year to around US$2.67 billion in Q1 2020 despite U.S. government restrictions, the U.S.-China ‘trade war’, and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, placing it in the 10th position for the first time, up from 15th this time last year.

Joining HiSilicon in the top-10 worldwide semiconductor sales rankings for Q1 2020 are six U.S. suppliers including Intel and Micron, two from South Korea (Samsung and SK Hynix), and one from each of Taiwan (TSMC) and China.

The strong results from HiSilicon came close on the heels of it surpassing Qualcomm Inc, a U.S. chip giant, in smartphone processor shipments on the Chinese mainland amid coronavirus-related disruptions that have caused harm to most of the market’s major players. This leap from 15th to 10th highlights HiSilicon’s, and indeed Huawei’s, resilience and strong technological advances said Xiang Ligang, the Information Consumption Alliance’s director-general. "Huawei is beefing up its in-house chip research and development capabilities and diversifying its suppliers," and has taken considerable steps to reduce reliance on U.S. tech companies, Xiang said.

The top-10 worldwide semiconductor sales rankings for Q1 2020.
The top-10 worldwide semiconductor sales rankings for Q1 2020.
(Source: IC Insights)

Despite HiSilicon’s process, the company is still well behind Intel, Samsung, and other top-10 companies in terms of semiconductor sales. Overall, it is the U.S. chip giant Intel that is leading the industry with its US$19.5 billion in quarterly sales, while South Korea’s Samsung comes in 2nd place with US$13.9 billion. Furthermore, Huawei faces fresh challenges as the U.S. government is reportedly planning new restrictions which will require foreign companies using U.S. chipmaking equipment to obtain a license before supplying chips to Huawei. This has reportedly prompted Huawei to move away from Taiwan-based TSMC to Shanghai-based Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC) for HiSilicon-designed chips.

Depending on how this switch goes, there could either be further prosperity or a rocky road ahead for HiSilicon. According to Bloomberg, SMIC is expected to raise more than US$3 billion when it floats its 1.69 billion new shares on China’s sci-tech innovation board, the STAR Market. This money will go towards developing next-generation chipmaking technologies that will complete with TSMC.


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