Semiconductor sales by Taiwanese companies climbed 28 per cent in the first quarter, a sign of robust strength in the chip industry, since many products are made or finished on the island.
Taiwanese chip industry sales totaled $NT307 billion ($US9.44 billion as of March 31, the end of the period being reported) in the first quarter, up from $NT240.7 billion during the same time last year, according to the Taiwan Semiconductor Industry Association (TSIA).
Chip testing and packaging sales rose the most, by over a third, thanks to demand for handsets and other communications gear. Companies in this sector put the finishing touches on chips by testing them for defects and placing them inside protective materials.
Taiwanese semiconductor design houses took second place, with 27 per cent growth, mainly due to strong sales of chips used in LCD displays. Brisk sales of LCD monitors, laptops and LCD TVs during the first quarter continued to boost Taiwan's LCD chip designers.
Chip manufacturing companies, including contract chipmakers such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, and DRAM makers accounted for the lion's share of Taiwanese chip sales, but grew at a slightly slower pace than the rest of the island's chip industry at 26 per cent.
Frugality helped the contract chipmakers most during the first quarter, according to TSIA. Conservative investment in new production lines over the past few years has meant the contract chipmakers are benefitting from the ability to keep prices high since factories can barely keep up with demand.
Taiwan is home to several global leaders in the chip industry. TSMC is the world's largest contract chipmaker, producing chips for customers ranging from Texas Instruments to Nvidia. Advanced Semiconductor Engineering is the biggest global chip testing and packaging company and MediaTek is the top designer of chips for optical drives such as DVD players.