Survey: Chip sales jump 30 per cent

Worldwide semiconductor sales rocketed 35.6 per cent to $US15.2 billion in April from $11.2 billion in the same month last year, propelled by a booming market for mobile phones and wireless communications infrastructure and continued strength in PC sales, according to industry reports.

The Asia-Pacific and Japanese markets jumped 46 per cent and 41 per cent respectively from the same period last year, according to a new report from the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA). European sales were up 33.6 per cent, while the American market rose 25.7 per cent 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 per cent, 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 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 would 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 US-based Linley Group, said. "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."