[International] In Asia-Pac, local OEMs have Apple-like supply chain clout


Apple Inc.'s position as the largest buyer of chips gives the firm a dominant position over suppliers. But in the critical Asia-Pacific region—where most chips are bought—local OEMs are increasing spending faster and giving Apple a run for its money in supplier relationships, according to a market research firm.


Semiconductor spending among OEMs headquartered in the Asia-Pacific region is projected to grow by an average of 6 percent in 2012, compared to 2.5 percent growth for all global OEMs, according to IHS iSuppli.


Apple, is expected to increase its semiconductor spending by 15 percent in 2012, buying $28 billion worth of semiconductors, according to IHS. Apple spends the most of any company on chips by a wide and growing margin, according to IHS.


But of all OEMs buying chips in the Asia-Pacific region, the largest spending increases are expected to come from three local companies—Taiwan's HTC Corp. and China's ZTE Corp. and TCL Corp., according to IHS.



"Local companies have led, are leading and will lead the Asia-Pacific region in semiconductor spending growth—not the larger OEMs headquartered elsewhere, such as Apple, Hewlett-Packard Co. and Dell Inc.," said Myson Robles-Bruce, senior analyst for semiconductor spending and design activity at IHS, in a statement. Asia-Pacific is the largest global region for chip purchasing and is set to outperform the rest of the world in coming years, according to IHS.


According to Robles-Bruce, while Apple's size gives it enormous advantages in terms of component supply and pricing, "the Asia-Pacific players are playing to their home-field advantage, wielding in Asia the same kind of influence that Apple now enjoys globally."



Continuing trend

OEMs headquartered in Asia-Pacific have increased chip spending faster than those based in other regions for several years, according to IHS. Local OEMs increased chip spending in the region at a 9 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2008 to 2011, compared to 7 percent for all global OEMs, according to IHS.


 IHS said it expects chip spending in the Asia-Pacific region to increase by 9.4 percent in 2013. Chip spending by local OEMs in the region is expected to grow by 15.5 percent next year, the firm said.


 "The phenomenon of domestic OEMs increasing their Asia-Pacific chip spending at a faster rate than their global rivals represents a consistent long-term trend," Robles-Bruce said. "This trend has persisted  regardless of whether overall growth rates for Asia Pacific semiconductor spending have increased or decreased."



In 2012, ZTE is expected to show the highest growth in Asia-Pacific chip spending at 26 percent, followed by HTC at 23 percent and TCL at 22 percent, IHS said. Both ZTE and HTC are considered among the top smartphone vendors on a worldwide basis, with a combined share of slightly more than 10 percent, IHS said.

 ZTE has been able to effectively compete in the Chinese domestic smartphones market, matching Apple's smartphone share for that area, according to IHS. ZTE has said it plans to double its smartphone shipments for this year by dramatically increasing sales to the U.S. and Chinese markets. 


 Despite suffering of late due to falling profits resulting from losing battles to Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and Apple in key markets, HTC has continued to press forward and plans to challenge the global smartphone leaders with newer handsets, IHS siad.


 TCL recently reported that its handset sales for the Chinese domestic market were up by more than 200 percent year over year, IHS said. Most of this new growth was driven by the release of five new smartphone models this year, the firm said. TCL also brought to the China market in 2012 a new 7-inch tablet called the T50, IHS noted. TCL has publicly stated its goal of raising revenue by 30 percent for this year, a feat which will be based in part upon greater spending on semiconductors, IHS said.


Source: EETimes