Despite a substantial and growing portion of the world's semiconductor manufacturing capacity located in Asia, US and European IC manufacturers are driving the market for front-end equipment tools for copper processing of IC interconnects, according to The Information Network. Equipment purchases to US IC companies represented 18% of the total worldwide front-end market in 2004, yet copper tools were 26% of total copper processing equipment purchases. In Europe, 9% of total front-end equipment was sold to European IC companies but 17% of all copper tools. These purchases contrast to Korea, where its worldwide share of front-end equipment was 13% but copper tools represented only 4% of worldwide copper processing equipment purchases. Even Taiwanese IC companies, with a 22% share of total equipment only purchased 17% of total copper tools in 2004. Worldwide, copper tools represented 7% of the total front-end equipment revenues in 2004, growing to 8% in 2005 and further to 15% in 2008.
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