Samsung Electronics’ semiconductor division is currently the world’s third largest contract maker of chips, mostly due to the fact that it produces vast amounts of different application processors for Apple as well as its own consumer electronics divisions. However, as Apple is looking at different manufacturers and Samsung wants further grows, the company is eyeing other customers.
“Samsung is eyeing Amazon, Sony and Nvidia as customers to offset the lost volume caused by the Apple’s decision to reduce purchases,” a source with knowledge of the matter revealed to the Korea Times.
At present, Samsung is negotiating on a high level with Sony Corp. and Nvidia Corp., presumably over making their chips for smartphones, game consoles, tablets and maybe even personal computers in the future.
Amazon, which has yet to develop its own application processors for its tablets, smartphones and possibly e-book reading devices, has also talked to Samsung, but without any significant outcome, presumably because Amazon’s chip development is at its early stages.
“Samsung is entering a new chapter in logic chips. It is looking for companies with processor design technology, but without manufacturing facilities,” said one industry observer.
Samsung has competitive process technologies and vast production capacities to satisfy demands from even such huge clients as Apple. The South Korean company is among a few foundries in the world who has leading-edge manufacturing processes, including 32nm and 28nm, and which is on-track to start making logic chips using 20nm and 14nm in the coming year.
According to market tracker IC Insights, in 2012, Samsung almost doubled its foundry sales and surpassed UMC to become the third-largest IC foundry in the world, according to estimates by IC Insights market tracking firm. It is believed that the company’s dedicated semiconductor foundry capacity reached 150 thousand 300mm wafers per month in Q4 2012. Using an average-revenue-per-wafer figure of $3000, Samsung’s IC foundry capacity currently has the potential to produce annual sales of about $5.4 billion.