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EL SEGUNDO, CA – Riding the momentum of continued strong demand growth for mobile handsets, sales of semiconductors for wireless products rose at a faster pace than the overall chip market in 2007, according to iSuppli Corp.
 
The global wireless semiconductor market generated $29.5 billion in revenue in 2007, up 7.6% from 2006. These figures consist of revenue from sales of application-specific semiconductors – excluding memory – for wireless applications, including mobile handsets, wireless infrastructure equipment, wireless LANs and connectivity products.
 
In contrast, the global market for all kinds of semiconductors grew by only 3.3% during the same period, the research firm said.
 
Worldwide mobile handset shipments amounted to 1.15 billion units in 2007, rising by a robust 16.1% year-over-year. This helped keep the wireless semiconductor market on a high growth track, with six of the Top-10 suppliers achieving double-digit increases in revenue for the year.
 
“iSuppli in mid 2007 reported that Qualcomm Inc. had usurped Texas Instruments Inc. as the world’s leading supplier of semiconductors for wireless applications during the initial three months of 2007, the first time this had occurred on a quarterly basis,” said Francis Sideco, senior analyst, wireless communications for iSuppli. “Qualcomm held onto the lead for the entire year of 2007.”
 
Qualcomm handily outgrew the overall wireless semiconductor market, with its revenue in this segment rising 24.1%. The company shrugged off its legal woes and benefited from strong demand for its EvDO and WCDMA/HSPA chips. Company market share rose to 19.1%, up from 16.5% in 2006.
 
Texas Instruments’ performance in 2007 was not as strong, with the company’s share declined to 16.7%, down from 19.4% in the prior year. Company revenue declined by 7.7%.
 
“Texas Instruments’ results were influenced by a confluence of events in 2007 –especially occurrences in the market for high-end 3G semiconductors,” Sideco said. “The year 2007 brought a market slowdown in Western Europe, where Texas Instruments’ customers have a large presence. This, combined with Ericsson Mobile Platform’s rising use of STMicroelectronics parts in some of its 3G digital baseband platforms, conspired to diminish Texas Instruments’ market share in 2007,” Sideco said.
 
STMicroelectronics surged to the No.-3 ranking, up from fifth in 2006, because of a 14.4% rise in revenue. The company’s strong performance was a result in part of the previously mentioned usage of its 3G digital baseband chips by EMP.
 
Infineon posted an impressive 54.3% increase in revenue, allowing it to move to No. 4, up from No. 8 in the prior year, said iSuppli.
 
iSuppli’s 2007 rankings illustrate the consolidation of market demand among the top semiconductor suppliers. The wireless semiconductor market is structuring itself to match the concentration of market share among the Top-5 mobile handset OEMs.
 
“Scale is sine qua non to compete in today’s wireless semiconductor market,” Sideco said. “Chip suppliers need at least $1 billion in revenue to even sit at the wireless table. However, scale goes beyond revenue and extends into having sufficient resources to support a broad and cutting-edge product portfolio, which must include single chip and reference platform solutions.”
 
Wireless semiconductor suppliers with annual revenue greater than $1 billion increased their collective share of the market to 62% in 2007, up from 51% in 2006. Sideco projects this trend will continue in 2008.
SALT LAKE CITY -- CirTran Corp. reported sales of $2.9 million for the three months ended March 31, up 25% over a year ago. The net loss improved 93% to $67,619. Gross profit fell 30.5% to to $758,032, the result of higher costs of sales at the company, which performs EMS services but also sells OEM products and consumables.

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MINNEAPOLIS -- Nortech Systems reported record first-quarter net sales of $31.2 million, up 12% over 2007.

For the period ended March 31, the EMS firm's operating income rose 90% to $1.2 million, and net income was up 118% to $626,000.
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COLORADO SPRINGS, CO Photo Stencil has named Dr. James F. Reilly, II, vice president of research and development, a new position. He will direct research in support of the company’s product roadmap and technology plans as liaison to customers and business partners, and will spearhead independent projects designed to develop new products and technologies for the printing process.  

Dr. Reilly is a veteran of the US Navy and NASA, and flew Space Shuttle missions in 1998, 2001 and 2007, where he performed five spacewalks totaling over 30 hours. Following the Columbia accident, he was involved with development and testing of repair materials and techniques for the Shuttle’s thermal protection system.

A materials expert, Reilly has a Ph.D. in geosciences from the University of Texas at Dallas, and is a former chief geologist at Enserch Exploration, where he was involved in the application of new imaging technology for industrial applications in deep water engineering projects and geological research. 

Dr. Reilly joins vice president of technology Dr. William E. Coleman on Photo Stencil’s product development team.

AUSTIN, TX -- EMS provider Bantam Electronics has signed an agreement to manufacture JBM Electronics' Gateway C120 Routers.

No financial terms were announced.
TOKYO – Japan produced 1.67 million yen worth of electronics in February, up 0.5% over last year, the Japan Electronics Industries Technologies Association reported.
 
March exports were down 13.3% to 1.18 million yen, and are down 9% for the year. Components were down 14.6%, while consumer electronics were up 2%. Components make up more than 70% of the value of Japan’s electronics exports.
 
Japan imported 702,714 million yen worth of electronics products in February, the latest month for which data are available, down 5.3% from 2007. Consumer electronics imports were up 107%, but industrial electronics, computers and components were down 9.4%, 8.5% and 10%, respectively.
 
For the year, Japan has imported 1.49 million yen worth of electronics, down 2.6%. Overall production is up 1.1%.
 
JEITA is one of Japan’s largest electronic associations, with 525 member companies.
CHENGDU, CHINA -- Major electronics manufacturers escaped damage from the massive earthquake that rocked central China earlier this week. Among the major companies issuing statements, it appears the worst of the damage amounted to a few fallen ceiling tiles.

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NEWARK, CA -- Phoenix X-Ray will open a West Coast demo and customer service center in Newark next month, the company announced.
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LONDONTT Electronics said its first-half results will be down against last year as result of slow economic conditions in North America. The company left its 2008 full-year guidance unchanged.
 
The company, which supplies EMS services and sensors, said in a published statement, “Although results for the first half will be lower than in the corresponding period in 2007, the board's outlook for the current financial year as a whole is unchanged from that communicated in our recent preliminary results announcement."
 
Overall, the company sees similar market conditions to 2007, North America notwithstanding.
 
The firm said it would continue to move production offshore, and would report losses in the first-half brought on by one-time transfer and reorganization costs.
BOSTON – Global first-quarter service provider switching and routing equipment sales grew to $3.1 billion overall, a 25% increase compared to a year ago, research firm Ovum RHK said.
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SAN JOSE, CA – The worldwide IC packaging market reached $30.5 billion in 2007, reports Electronic Trend Publications. Some 151 billion ICs were produced during the year.
 
Modest growth should continue in 2008 and 2009, before accelerating in 2010, the firm says.
 
ETP found contract-packaging companies assembled nearly 49 billion ICs last year, or one-third of all components – for a value of $12.1 billion. The firm estimates the worldwide semiconductor output will grow to 261 billion ICs in 2012, a value of $47 billion. 
 
FRAMINGHAM, MA – The stagnant economy will drive overall IT spending growth down to 4% in the US this year, compared to last year's growth of 6%, IDC says. Read more ...

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