SAN FRANCISCO—Thanks to surging memory chip prices, South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. could knock Intel Corp. from its familiar perch atop the chip vendor sales leaders as soon as this quarter, according to market research firm IC Insights Inc.
Samsung, the industry leader in memory chip sales, is benefiting from a precipitous rise in average selling prices (ASPs) for DRAM and NAND flash. According to IC Insights, DRAM ASPs in the first quarter of this year were 45 percent greater than in the first quarter of 2016, while NAND ASPs increased 40 percent over the same period.
If Intel's second quarter sales come in around the midpoint of the company's guidance, about $14.4 billion, Samsung could unseat Intel in the second quarter with a modest yet typical increase of 7.5 percent in chip sales from $13.9 billion in the first quarter, IC Insights noted.
Intel has been No. 1 in semiconductor sales since 1993. If memory prices hold firm through 2017, Samsung could also displace Intel as the chip sales leader for the full year, IC Insights said. Both companies are currently on pace to sell about $60 billion in semiconductors this year, the firm said.
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