GaAs trends: Foundry outsourcing, rapid market upswing

Update February 9, 2012 — After a fast start to 2011, GaAs device revenue growth slowed, maintaining an historical average of 6%. While growth drivers are still present, the rates are likely to continue to flatten in 2012.

There were revenue declines in the second half of 2011 at GaAs substrate manufacturers.

January 6, 2012 — The gallium arsenide (GaAs) device market recovered sharply (35%) in 2010, driven by increasing GaAs content in mobile handsets and growing data consumption. Increased use of pure-play foundries met the surge in demand and was in-line with a trend toward outsourcing, says Strategy Analytics.

The Strategy Analytics GaAs and Compound Semiconductor Technologies Service reports, "GaAs Device Vendor Market Share 2010: Asia-Pacific and Europe" and "GaAs Device Vendor Market Share 2010: North America," estimate that the GaAs device market grew by 35% from 2009 to reach nearly $5.5 billion of revenue. While the surge was the largest the industry experienced since the “telecom bubble” of the early 2000s, Strategy Analytics sees broad enough adoption that a popped bubble is not in our future.

"Pent-up demand from 2009 helped fuel the extraordinary growth of the GaAs industry in 2010, increasing GaAs content in mobile phones," noted Eric Higham, director of the Strategy Analytics GaAs and Compound Semiconductor Technologies Service. "Demand picked up much faster than captive foundries could increase capacity. Increasing GaAs content in handsets and the sheer volume of the handset market should still power GaAs growth. This, coupled with the increasing trend toward outsourcing propelled pure-play foundries in Asia Pacific, is the key to strong growth. We expect these drivers will continue, but growth is likely to be more in-line with historical averages of 5-7%."

Stategy Analytics found that the trend toward foundry outsourcing and the very rapid GaAs market recovery drove revenue growth at WIN Semiconductors to outpace the overall GaAs device market. WIN is now the largest merchant GaAs foundry in the world and the largest GaAs device supplier in the Asia Pacific and Europe region, shows the report.

Skyworks Solutions remains the largest GaAs device manufacturer. Skyworks increased its lead over second-place RFMD through a combination of product diversification and design wins at major handset manufacturers. TriQuint Semiconductor is still in third place, now less than half of a percentage point behind RFMD. Avago Technologies rounds out the top four. These companies account for nearly 60% of total GaAs device revenue. WIN Semiconductors is fifth. The other Asia-Pacific contender is Sumitomo Electric in eighth.

Also read: GaAs test services debut from WIN Semiconductors, Presto Engineering

Asif Anwar, Director in the Strategy Analytics Strategic Technologies Practice added, "Consolidation at large Japanese electronics companies like Renesas Electronics and Sumitomo Electric continued in 2010. Strategy Analytics expects renewed growth in this region."

Strategy Analytics estimates that only two of the top ten GaAs vendors are located in Asia-Pacific and Europe.

These reports provide strategic comments, representative products and selected news items for a comprehensive set of GaAs vendors in Asia Pacific and Europe, and North America. They identify the top ten global vendors in terms of GaAs device market share. Access the Asia-Pacific/Europe report at http://www.strategyanalytics.com/default.aspx?mod=ReportAbstractViewer&a0=6959. Access the North America report at http://www.strategyanalytics.com/default.aspx?mod=ReportAbstractViewer&a0=6958

Strategy Analytics, Inc. provides market intelligence focused on automotive electronics and entertainment, broadband connected home, mobile & wireless intelligent systems and virtual worlds. Website: www.strategyanalytics.com

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