Wireless giving boost to semiconductor industry: report

Wireless communications might be single-highhandedly supporting the global semiconductor industry in 2012, according to a new study.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

A new report from market intelligence firm IHS iSuppli basically suggests that if it weren't for the plethora of wireless devices out there, the semiconductor industry would be in a lot of trouble.

Wireless is projected to have the largest percentage increase for the global semiconductor industry's growth for 2012 with a 10.9 percent increase to $72.6 billion.

The only one remotely close to that would be industrial electronics with anticipated an revenue growth of 7.7 percent.

Other than that, there is barely any revenue growth to be seen by other semiconductor segments, such as automotive and wired electronics. Data processing and multi-chip packages are also set to take serious hits with 1.9 and 17.9 percent declines, respectively.

However, wireless is really the force pushing up global semiconductor revenue, which is only expected to rise by a 3 percent to $320.8 billion -- up from $312.2 billion in 2011.

Len Jelinek, director and chief analyst of semiconductor manufacturing at IHS, explained in the report that the wireless segment is growing at a much healthier pace than most other markets in 2012 -- primarily thanks to strong sales for tablets and smartphones.

"Because of this, the growth of the semiconductor market in 2012 is not broad-based and is only being driven by wireless," he emphasized.

Thus, Jelinek warned that semiconductor manufacturers should be cautious working on any products that don't support next-generation wireless applications.

Given that the semiconductor industry is starting to depend upon wireless communications and production, which in turn depend upon smartphone and tablet sales, then we should see even better growth later this year as we still have the back-to-school and holiday seasons to contend with.

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