TAIPEI, Taiwan - Taiwan's top-three integrated circuits (IC) foundries will see their combined revenues register sequential growth of 15.3 per cent in the second quarter, compared to the 0.7-per cent on-quarter increase posted in the first quarter, new statistics show.
Combined revenues for Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), United Microelectronics (UMC) and Vanguard International Semiconductor (VIS) are forecast to total US$6.46 billion in the second quarter, up from US$5.6 billion in the first quarter.
With Hejian Technology becoming UMC's China-based subsidiary, the Taiwan top-three IC foundries' combined revenues generated from their China units grew to US$340 million (S$427 million) in the first quarter of 2013 from US$250 million in fourth-quarter 2012, Digitimes Research said. The sales figure will top US$400 million in the second quarter.
Communications continues to be the key factor driving the industry's growth. As recorded in quarterly reports of TSMC, UMC and VIS, the three companies' combined revenues generated from communications sector reached US$2.96 billion in the first quarter of 2013, compared to US$2.91 billion in the previous quarter and US$2.11 billion a year ago.
The sales figure will likely climb to US$3.55 billion in the second quarter, representing an almost 20-per cent increase, Digitimes Research disclosed.
In addition, inventory among the global major IC suppliers climbed to a record US$13.56 billion in the third quarter of 2012, but has slipped since on a pick-up in end-market demand, Digitimes Research noted.
Inventory for TSMC, UMC and VIS came to US$12.58 billion in the first quarter of 2013, the lowest level in four quarters.
Both TSMC and UMC, which in April both issued upbeat business forecasts for the second quarter, expect strong mobile-related demand and are thus scrambling to build up their 28-nanometer production capacity.
Moreover, TSMC and UMC recently announced an accelerated production schedule for the process of developing their next generation 16-nanometer systems, which is mostly used to produce communication ICs.
The worldwide mobile phone market grew 4 per cent year over year in the seasonally slow first quarter as smartphones outshipped feature phones for the first time.
According to International Data Corporation (IDC), vendors shipped a total of 418.6 million mobile phones in the first quarter. It compared to 402.4 million units in the first quarter of 2012 and 483.2 million units in the fourth quarter of 2012.
In the worldwide smartphone market, vendors shipped 216.2 million units in the first quarter of 2013, which marked the first time more than 50 per cent - 51.6 per cent - of the total phone shipments in a quarter were smartphones. The market grew 41.6 per cent compared to the 152.7 million units shipped in the first quarter of 2012, but 5.1-per cent lower than the 227.8 million units shipped in the last quarter of 2012.