Samsung Overtakes Apple As Top Global Semiconductor Buyer

By Binu Paul email: | Jan 24, 2013 09:22 AM EST

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Samsung has zoomed past Apple in yet another metric and this time, the South-Korean electronics major leads in the total amount spent on semiconductor chips in 2012.

Surpassing Apple to become the world's biggest semiconductor buyer, Samsung purchased nearly 8 percent, or $23.9 billion, of all chips in 2012, reveals a new Gartner report. Samsung upped its expenditure on semiconductors by 29 percent over the year ($18.6 billion in 2011), reflecting the soaring popularity of its products and the huge volumes its mobile device sales.

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Apple stands second in the list of top semiconductor buyers with an overall spending of $21.4, marking a 13.6 percent increase ($18.8 billion in 2011) when compared to the previous year.

"Although Samsung and Apple continue to go from strength to strength, other leading electronic equipment makers fared less well, and six of the top 10 reduced their demand in 2012," said Masatsune Yamaji, principal research analyst at Gartner.

According to Gartner researchers, the tech titans, Samsung and Apple, dominated the semiconductor demand in 2012 accounting for 15 percent of total semiconductor demand (8 percent and 7.2 percent respectively).

"The PC market still represented the largest sector for chip demand, but desktop and mobile PCs did not sell well, as consumers' interest shifted to new mobile computing devices like smartphones and media tablets. This shift caused a substantial decrease in semiconductor demand in 2012, as the semiconductor content of a smartphone or a media tablet is far less than that of a PC," Yamaji said.

HP was ranked third in the list with an overall spending of $16.0 billion (12.7 percent drop from 2011) and Dell came fourth spending $9.9 billion (13.4 percent drop from 2011). The top 10 companies including Sony, Lenovo, Toshiba, LG, Cisco and Nokia accounted for 36 percent ($106.4 billion) of total semiconductor purchases in 2012.

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