Survey: Chip sales jump by more than 30 percent

Worldwide semiconductor sales rocketed 35.6 percent to $15.2 billion in April from $11.2 billion in the same month last year, propelled by a booming market for cellular phones and wireless communications infrastructure, and by continued strength in PC sales, an industry group said last week.

The Asia-Pacific and Japan markets jumped 46 percent and 41 percent, respectively, from the same period last year, according to a new report from the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA). European sales were up 33.6 percent, while the Americas market rose 25.7 percent from last year.

PC units and consumer electronic sales stayed strong for the first four months of 2000, the SIA said. Flash memory and digital signal processing, used in communications applications, showed exceptional growth, with Flash memory sales increasing 193 percent, the SIA said.

The figures, based on a three-month moving average of sales activity, showed strength in all areas of the chips market, the SIA said.

"This report shows broad growth in demand for communications infrastructure products, and for wired and wireless applications," Daven Oswalt, SIA communications director, said in a phone interview. "In addition, PC units sales are still strong."

The SIA's Global Sales Report was based on information from the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics organisation, which represents about 70 companies.

One industry analyst said the strong chip demand will prolong a worldwide shortage of chips.

"At this point, demand is outstripping supply and a lot of companies are investing in building more fabrication plants all over the world," Linley Gwennap, principal analyst with the Linley Group, based in Mountain View, California, said in a phone interview. "But it takes a long time from the point when the first shovel is put in the ground to when the fabrication plant is opened."

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