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Samsung Set To Surpass Intel Semiconductor Sales For Second Year

Intel lost the top spot for global semiconductor sales last year to Samsung, largely driven by the South Korean company’s fast-growing memory sales, after holding the position since 1993.

Samsung is projected to surpass Intel in semiconductor sales for a second year in a row as the South Korean company's revenue growth surges past its American competitor.

The forecast comes from research firm IC Insights, which posted its 2018 sales forecast for the world's top 15 semiconductor companies on Monday.

Intel, based in Santa Clara, Calif., lost the top spot for semiconductor sales last year to Samsung after holding the position since 1993. The gap between Samsung and Intel sales is set to grow to nearly 19 percent in 2018 from roughly 7 percent the previous year.

[Related: What Partners Should Know About Intel's New Xeon CPUs]

Intel's expected semiconductor revenue for 2018 is $70.2 billion, a 14 percent increase from last year, while Samsung's sales are expected to reach $83.3 billion, a 26 percent increase.

So far this year, Intel's revenue growth was largely driven by its data-centric businesses, with the Data Center Group taking the lead at 26 percent year-over-year growth in the recently closed third quarter. At the same time, the company's PC chip business picked up speed again, reaching a 16 percent growth rate in Q3. The company said any additional upside beyond its full-year revenue forecast will be limited due to supply issues that are expected to cause shortages with some CPUs.

Meanwhile, Samsung's growth is forecast to come mostly from memory sales, which is expected to increase 31 percent to $70 billion from the previous year, according to IC Insights.

Ranking at No. 3 on the list is South Korea-based SK Hynix, which is expected to generate $37.7 billion in sales, making it the company with the largest expected growth increase on the list at 41 percent. Besides Samsung and SK Hynix, the other fastest growing companies for 2018 are Nvidia (37 percent), Micron (33 percent), and Western Digital (21 percent).

Sales-wise, Taiwanese semiconductor foundry TSMC ranked No. 4 ($34.2 billion), followed by Micron ($31.8 billion), Broadcom ($18.6 billion), Qualcomm ($16.5 billion), Toshiba ($15.4 billion), Texas Instruments ($14.9 billion), Nvidia ($12.9 billion), STMicroelectronics ($9.6 billion), Western Digital ($9.5 billion), NXP Semiconductors ($9.4 billion), Infineon ($9.2 billion) and Sony ($8 billion).

Altogether, the top 15 semiconductor companies are projected to grow 18 percent to $381.2 billion in sales from the previous year, according to IC Insights.

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