Smartphones and tablets drove 16.2% growth in the semiconductor market during 2012

The semiconductor market grew by 16.2% worldwide o $US34.6 billion in revenue during 2012, led by increased demand for smartphones and tablets, according to figures from Gartner.

The figures, republished by Tom’s Hardware, show the emergence of low-cost smartphones in emerging markets were a significant factor, prompting foundries to increase their 28 nm chip yields.

Aside from the contract manufacturing of processors for smartphone chip design firms such as Qualcomm, Texas Instruments and NVidia, the sector also includes the production of memory chips and embedded processors.

The market leader was TSMC, followed by GlobalFoundries and UMC.

Samsung claimed the fifth spot in the market off the back of its production of Apple’s A6 and A6X chips, reporting an astounding 175.5% growth rate in 2012.

The growth in the semiconductor market comes despite contracting sales of traditional desktop PCs.

As SmartCompany recently reported, PC chip giant Intel has told investors it anticipates its current-quarter revenue could drop by as much as 8% year-on-year as PC sales plummet.

The company predicts its current-quarter revenue will drop by up to 8% year-on-year to around $12.9 billion.

Intel has seen its traditional PC chip market erode since the release of Windows 8, with worldwide PC sales taking a 13.9% hit during the first quarter of 2013, according to recent IDC figures.

The release of Windows 8 has led to a dramatic 13.9% year-on-year slump in first quarter PC sales, according to IDC.

The report says worldwide PC shipments totalled 76.3 million for the quarter, with the contraction marking the largest percentage single quarter decline in the sector since the mid-1990s, and exceeded analysts’ forecasts of a 7.7% drop in sales.

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