Despite industry troubles, chip firms had a good 2014

No major blowups or bankruptcies, just some mergers and a whole lot of growth.

Market research firm IHS (formerly iSuppli) has issued its state of the semiconductor market for 2014, and it was a good year for the chip business. IHS projects that semiconductor revenue will reach $353.2 billion in 2014, up 9.4% from 2013's $322.8 billion. That's the best showing since 2010.

The top 20 companies accounted for two-thirds of the entire global market, with still firmly at the top of the list with almost $50 billion in revenue. Keep in mind, IHS is projecting Q4 numbers for all players, since they still have not reported those numbers.

Samsung was second, with $38 billion in sales and 15.6% growth. No doubt Apple helped with that. Qualcomm was third with $19.2 billion and 12% growth. Memory makers Micron and SK Hynix rounded out the top five.

The industry was fairly stable this year, with no major bankruptcies but a lot of M&A activity. Several firms reported huge growths but that came from combined revenues from acquisitions completed in 2014. The greatest increase without acquisition came from SK Hynix, up 23%. Only two companies were negative for the year: Toshiba, down 9.6%, and Renesas Electronics, down 13.3%.

"This is the healthiest the semiconductor business has been in many years, not only in light of the overall growth, but also because of the broad-based nature of the market expansion," said Dale Ford, vice president and chief analyst at IHS Technology, in a statement.

"While the upswing in 2013 was almost entirely driven by growth in a few specific memory segments, the rise in 2014 is built on a widespread increase in demand for a variety of different types of chips. Because of this, nearly all semiconductor suppliers can enjoy good cheer as they enter the 2014 holiday season," Ford added.

IHS said major turnarounds are occurring in the analog, discrete and microprocessor markets as they will swing from declines to strong growth in every sub-segment. Most segments will see their growth improve by more than 10 percent, compared to the declines experienced in 2013.

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