Qualcomm Set to Shine in 2013

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - Qualcomm ( QCOM) looks set to shine in 2013 after delivering an upbeat outlook at the company's annual analyst event on Thursday.

The chip maker, widely regarded as one of the key beneficiaries of the push to high-speed LTE networks, gave a bullish outlook for the coming years, further cementing its status as one of tech's brightest stars.

Recent weeks have seen a host of big-name tech firms strike a cautious tone about the coming months, with Intel ( INTC) citing weak demand and Texas Instruments ( TXN) delivering weaker-than-expected guidance and announcing layoffs.

Qualcomm, however, shrugged off the spending headwinds that have characterized this tech earnings season, projecting 20% to 26% revenue growth in fiscal 2013 and non-GAAP operating income growth between 14% and 21%.

Clearly, there's a big market opportunity ahead for the component maker and key Apple ( AAPL) partner. On Thursday, for example, Qualcomm said that it's looking for a double-digit Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) on revenue and EPS over the next five years.

The booming demand for smartphones and tablets, combined with lucrative opportunities in emerging markets and the expansion of high-speed networks, put Qualcomm in a great position.

"We continue to be buyers with 2013 catalysts including China Mobile, new products, iPhone and a secularly growing smartphone market," wrote Sterne Agee analyst Vijay Rakesh, in a note released on Friday. Some 65% of China Unicom's phones contain Qualcomm processors, added the analyst, noting that China Mobile presents a big opportunity for the company in the first half of next year.

Qualcomm's Snapdragon processors already support a wide flavor of 3G and 4G technologies, something that's key in countries such as China, where a wide range of networks are in use. The next version of Qualcomm's Snapdragon processors will be introduced in the first quarter of 2013.

The company also continues to ride the Apple wave. Qualcomm provides a power management chip, an LTE modem and an RF Transceiver for the new iPhone 5, continuing its strong partnership with the tech giant. Other Qualcomm customers include Samsung, Nokia ( NOK), LG and HTC.

The chip maker discussed the booming smartphone and tablet space during its annual analyst meeting, describing a total market of 5 billion cumulative smartphone unit sales between 2012 and 2016.

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