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Samsung Topples Intel As No. 1 Chipmaker

Samsung, known mostly for its smartphones and televisions, has taken the mantel from Intel as the world’s largest chipmaker by revenue.

Samsung’s semiconductor unit, whose fortunes come largely from selling memory chips used in mobile devices, delivered Q2 sales of US$15.7 billion (A$19.6 billion) and operating profit of $7.1 billion.

Intel, which dominates the calculating engines known as microprocessors, reported quarterly revenue of $14.8 billion and operating profit of $3.8 billion.

It marks the first quarter in which Samsung – for years a distant No. 2 to Intel in the roughly $365 billion semiconductor industry – has topped the chip pioneer in semiconductor sales.

Samsung started making chips for wristwatches in the 1970s. A surge in demand for memory has caused prices to soar over the past year. NAND prices rose 50 percent and DRAM prices jumped 115 percent on the spot market over the past year. But some predict supply will be replenished by next year, dragging on Samsung’s revenue.

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