China’s Lenovo, Huawei and BBK rank among world’s top 10 buyers of semiconductor products

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 02 February, 2017, 8:15pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 02 February, 2017, 8:15pm

Chinese hi-tech companies Lenovo Group, Huawei Technologies and BBK Electronics ranked among the world’s 10-largest buyers of semiconductor products last year on the back of their steady market expansion around the world.

Preliminary estimates released by research firm Gartner on Thursday showed the three companies purchased a combined US$28.55 billion worth of chips last year, up from US$23.65 billion in 2015.

“This is the first time that three Chinese companies have ranked in the top 10, proving that even with the slowing macroeconomic situation in China, the importance of the Chinese electronics market is increasing,” Gartner principal research analyst Masatsune Yamaji said in a report.

Gartner estimated total semiconductor sales last year advanced 1.5 per cent to US$339.68 billion from US$334.77 billion a year earlier.

Lenovo, the world’s largest supplier of personal computers, was ranked fourth last year behind Samsung Electronics, Apple and Dell.

The Hong Kong-listed company saw its chip purchases decline 5 per cent to US$12.85 billion last year, compared with US$13.53 billion in 2015, as its smartphone business continued to struggle more than two years since its US$2.91 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility from Google.

Fifth-ranked Huawei, the world’s biggest telecommunications equipment supplier, recorded a 30 per cent increase in chip procurements last year to US$9.89 billion, up from US$7.59 billion in 2015, on strong growth at its networking gear and smartphone businesses.

BBK was ranked ninth behind HP, Hewlett Packard Enterprises and Sony, and a spot ahead of No 10 LG Electronics.

Dongguan-based BBK saw its chip consumption jump 131 per cent -- the highest increase in Gartner’s top 10 list -- to US$5.82 billion last year from US$2.51 billion in 2015, as subsidiaries Oppo and Vivo rapidly built up their businesses to be ranked among the world’s top five smartphone suppliers.

“BBK Electronics grew very fast in 2016 ... but this extraordinarily fast growth also underlines how volatile the businesses in China can be,” Yamaji said.