Pure-play chip foundry suppliers are expected to see revenue jump 12% this year, driven by strong demand for tablets such as Apple Inc.'s (AAPL) iPad, smartphones and Windows-based laptops called ultrabooks, according to industry research firm IHS iSuppli.
Foundry revenue is expected to reach $29.6 billion, with suppliers reporting a steady increase in demand beginning late in the first quarter and expectations demand with peak in the typically strong third quarter.
"This year's notable performance is a result of the widespread growth of consumer-related products requiring advanced technology for low-power applications," said Len Jelinek, director and chief analyst of semiconductor manufacturing at IHS. "For such applications, the overall number of semiconductors-or semiconductor content-must grow in order to support the more sophisticated functionalities."
The growth is expected to continue in coming years, with 2013 revenue growth estimated at 14%, followed by solid double-digit growth in 2014 and 2015.
The projections compare with tepid growth of 3% last year for the sector, following a 45% surged in 2010 as the industry recovered from the recession.
According to IHS iSuppli, the top pure-play foundry last year was Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp. (TSM, 2330.TW) with revenue of $14 billion.
-By Tess Stynes, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2481; Tess.Stynes@dowjones.com