When the global electronics industry is humming along and all geographies are growing (when was the last time that happened?) it doesn’t seem to matter much where companies are headquartered. But when some regions are more economically challenged than others, location begins to make a difference.
For example, IHS's recent examination of the global semiconductor market notes that European and Japanese chip companies were hit hardest by a dismal second quarter:
“Amid rising economic concerns—including the Eurozone crisis, slowing manufacturing growth in China and stubbornly highly unemployment in the United States—second-quarter growth for the global semiconductor industry was highly disappointing,” said Dale Ford, senior director of electronics and semiconductor research at IHS. “Approximately two-thirds of the world’s semiconductor suppliers saw their revenues decline in the second quarter compared to the same period in 2011. This weak performance bodes ill for the semiconductor industry’s growth prospects for the entire year.”
Second-quarter global semiconductor revenues fell by 3 percent year-over-year, IHS reports, to $75.2 billion. European chip companies were hit hardest: IHS says revenues there fell by 8.3 percent year-over-year. In Japan, chip sales fell by 7.5 percent from the first quarter of 2012.
European chip suppliers STMicroelectronics and Infineon Technologies suffered revenue declines of 16.4 percent and 12.9 percent, respectively, according to the research firm. In Japan, the steepest declines were felt by Toshiba Corp., Renesas Electronics Corp., Fujitsu Semiconductor Ltd., and Mitsubishi.
But other regions don’t have a lot to feel smug about. In the Americas, IHS identified only two companies that had outstanding growth: Qualcomm, with 23.7 percent growth, and Broadcom, at 10.0 percent.
South Korea’s Samsung grew by 5.8 percent, boosted primarily by its acquisition of Samsung Electro-Mechanics, IHS reports.