U.S.-based chip firms held more than 50% of the global IC market share in 2018, by far the most of any region, according to market research firm IC Insights. U.S.-headquartered fabless chip companies accounted for 68% of the global fabless market last year, while U.S. IDMs held 46% of the global IDM share.

South Korean companies — chiefly, memory chip giants Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix — accounted for 27% of the worldwide chip industry market share in 2018, up from 24% in 2017, said the firm.

Taiwan-headquartered firms and Europe-headquartered firms each accounted for about 6% of the global IC market share last year. The ranking includes fabless chip companies and IDMs but excludes foundries — an area where Taiwan dominates.

South Korean and Japanese companies each have an extremely weak presence in the fabless IC segment, and the Taiwanese and Chinese companies have a very low share of the IDM portion of the IC market, IC Insights said. Overall, U.S.-headquartered companies show the most balance with regard to IDM, fabless, and total IC industry market share.

IC Insights Marketshare

Thanks to dramatic increases in average selling prices for DRAM and NAND flash memory last year, South Korean-based chip firms cumulatively increased their sales by 26% last year. As a group, South Korean firms and Chinese chip firms grew faster than the 14% rise in global IC sales last year.

But IC Insights noted that with the memory chip market projected to decline by 30% this year, it is likely that South Korean-headquartered companies will rank behind every other region of the world in sales growth in 2019.