Samsung Electronics became the world’s top chip maker by revenue in the second quarter of the year, dislodging Intel from the top spot. According to foreign media reports and the industry on Monday, Samsung Electronics recorded 19.7 billion U.S. dollars (about 22.74 trillion won) in revenue in the second quarter, exceeding Intel’s 19.6 billion dollars.
Intel had enjoyed decades of dominance in the semiconductor market since the 1980s, maintaining its top position in global sales. The only time Intel gave way to Samsung was during the “semiconductor super-cycle” of 2017 and 2018, when the price of memory chips soared.
Memory chips were behind Samsung’s strong second-quarter revenue. The South Korean tech giant saw its revenue jump as the spread of COVID-19 caused a supply shortage, pushing up memory chip prices. The prices of both PC and server central processor units (CPU), which are Intel’s main products, have risen relatively less than that of memory chips. According to The Wall Street Journal, although memory chips have lower selling price than CPUs, they were much higher in demand.
The industry predicts that Samsung will continue to be the world’s largest chip maker by revenue for the time being, driven by a steady increase in memory chip demand. The market research firm Gartner forecast that global memory chip sales will jump 33 percent this year while CPU sales will grow only 4 percent. The fact that the sales of PC, which increased since the spread of COVID-19, have recently started to fall is expected to negatively affect Intel.