Altera, Broadcom, and MStar are each expected to register more than 50% sales growth this year, according to IC Insights.

By Suzanne Deffree, Managing editor, news — EDN, December 22, 2010

Being fabless can encourage fabulous revenue, as 13 fabless IC suppliers with sales topping $1 billion in 2010 and without the demands of in-house manufacturing have proven.

A forecast of the 2010 billion-dollar fabless IC suppliers, excerpted from a ranking of the top 50 fabless IC suppliers in IC Insights’ coming 2011 edition of The McClean Report, shows 13 fabless companies expected to register more than $1 billion in sales in 2010 up from 10 such companies in 2009 and eight companies in 2008. IC Insights reported that the 13 suppliers are forecast to have a combined $41.4 billion in sales and represent about 70% of the $59.6 billion worth of total fabless company IC sales expected in 2010.

The market research company said it expects Qualcomm to remain the number one fabless IC supplier in 2010. The mobile specialist is forecast to register $7.1 billion in 2010 sales on an 11% growth rate.

Meanwhile, number 8 Altera, number 2 Broadcom, and number 13 MStar are each expected to register more than 50% sales growth this year.

On the flip side, 2009’s fabless shining star MediaTek is forecast to show a slim 3% sales gain in 2010 after recording a 22% increase in 2009, moving its sales up to $3.5 billion during a down economy. IC Insights attributed the smaller sale growth to MediaTek’s lateness in developing devices for the 3G cell phone market.

“Overall, IC Insights believes that most of the large fabless IC suppliers will continue to do well and will help to drive significant sales gains by the pure-play foundries,” IC Insights President Bill McClean said in a statement, noting such foundries as TSMC, UMC, and GlobalFoundries.

“Moreover, as the barriers to entry (ie, high design costs, increasingly difficult access to venture capital money, etc.) rise, IC Insights believes that the total fabless IC supplier listing will continue to become increasingly “top-heavy’ in the future,” he said.

13 fabless IC suppliers expected to top $1B in 2010 sales table