U.S.-based chip firms held more than 50% of the global IC market share in 2018, by far the most of any region, according to market research firm IC Insights.
South Korean companies followed with a 27% share, up three percentage points from 2017. The Taiwanese companies, on the strength of their fabless company IC sales, held the same 6% share of total IC sales as the European companies. Overall, the South Korean and Japanese companies have an extremely weak presence in the fabless IC segment and the Taiwanese and Chinese companies have a very low share of the IDM portion of the IC market. Overall, U.S.-headquartered companies show the most balance with regard to IDM, fabless, and total IC industry marketshare.
Driven by a surge in DRAM and NAND flash memory IC sales in 2018, the South Korean-headquartered companies, primarily Samsung and SK Hynix, registered a 26% sales increase, outpacing the Chinese companies by three percentage points last year, according to IC Insights. The South Korean and Chinese companies were the only regions/countries to grow faster than the total IC industry (14%) last year. However, with the memory market expected to show a huge 30% drop in 2019, it is likely that the South Korean companies will go from “first to worst” regarding IC sales growth by company headquarters location this year as compared to last year.