As GaAs device manufacturers announce their financial results for the 2011 calendar year, it is becoming clear that while the industry grew, the growth was not on par to 2010’s banner year. In addition, announcements from compound semiconductor manufacturers Skyworks, RFMD and Freescale all point to revenue declines to close 2011. The Strategy Analytics GaAs and Compound Semiconductor Technologies Service (GaAs) viewpoint, "Compound Semiconductor Industry Review January 2012: Microelectronics," captures product, technology, contract and financial announcements for these companies, as well as others such as Fujitsu, ANADIGICS, Agilent, Hittite Microwave, TriQuint Semiconductor, Avago, Soitec, Analog Devices and Microsemi.
While it always pays to be vigilant to spot trends in the GaAs market early, we do not think there is cause for concern, just yet. Even though we are seeing revenue growth rates slow from some of the larger compound semiconductor manufacturers in the fourth quarter, some of this is attributable to seasonality. With handset manufacturers driving so much of the GaAs device market, it is not surprising to see demand spike in the third quarter as handset OEMs prepare for the holiday season.
Even with the revenue declines in the fourth quarter, consumer demand for applications and data consumption continues to increase sharply. As operators implement new frequency bands and more sophisticated modulation schemes to try to keep up with the demand, the value of GaAs devices incorporated into handsets and mobile networks is increasing. While we believe these top-level trends will continue to drive growth, smartphone growth is slowing as early adopters have already jumped aboard the bandwagon. This, couple with increasing market share from silicon-based technologies will act to modulate GaAs growth in 2012. At this point, Strategy Analytics expects 2012 revenue growth for the GaAs device industry to be close to the historical average of 6%
This viewpoint summarizes financial, product, contract and employment developments from leading compound semiconductor device suppliers from January 2012. These announcements address a variety of commercial and military applications that use gallium arsenide (GaAs), gallium nitride (GaN), Silicon carbide (SiC), silicon germanium (SiGe) and complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) technologies.
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