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Samsung rapidly catches up with Sony in digital image sensors

Samsung rapidly catches up with Sony in digital image sensors

Posted May. 11, 2018 07:35,   

Updated May. 11, 2018 07:35


An information technology market research agency forecast that the image sensor market will grow at a very rapid rate this year to reach global sales of nearly 14 billion U.S. dollars.

According to IC Insights, a global market research firm, on Thursday, the market size of complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) image sensors will reach 13.7 billion dollars, up by about 10 percent from a year earlier.

Image sensors are key components of digital cameras that convert optical images coming through the lenses to digital signals. They determine the quality of photos or videos.

Sales of CMOS image sensors have been breaking records every year since 2010. The CMOS market’s growth rate fell to 6 percent in 2016 due to slumping demand for those used in smartphone cameras, but is rapidly increasing demands for high-performance image sensors for artificial intelligence devices, dual lens smartphones and self-driving cars. CMOS sales recorded 12.5 billion dollars last year, breaking the market outlook of 11.5 billion dollars, and are expected to grow up to 19 million dollars in 2022.

Japan’s Sony has long been the No. 1 maker of image sensors in the global market. Sony produces not just mobile gadgets for image sensors but also industrial or digital cameras. Based on annual sales, Sony maintained its top spot with a 52.2 percent share in the global markets, followed by Samsung with a market share of 19.1 percent.

Samsung has been trying to catch up with the Japanese tech giant, with new “Isocell” brand of its image sensors, is challenging Sony. Samsung had a 25.4 percent share in the global image sensor market last year, compared with Sony’s 28.3 percent.

Ji-Hyun Kim jhk85@donga.com