January chip sales bode well

Although there was a "seasonal" dip in sales from December, the year-over-year comparison shows a jump of 26 percent in semiconductor revenue, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association.

U.S.-based Semiconductor Industry Association has high hopes for chip revenue in 2004, as January got the year off to a good start.

Worldwide sales of semiconductors reached US$15.5 billion during the first month of the year, up 26.6 percent from the US$12.3 billion in sales raked up in January of 2003, the SIA said this week. The Asia-Pacific region, propelled by China, led the growth with a 34 percent rise, while the Americas saw the smallest increase, 15 percent.

In the year ahead, SIA said, demand from the communications, computer and consumer sectors will continue to boost chip sales, with consumers migrating to new mobile technologies and businesses spending more on information technology systems. Market research company Gartner recently predicted that global chip revenue in 2004 would grow to US$217 billion from last year's US$177 billion.

The SIA also acknowledged that chip sales in January dipped from their levels in December, a decline of 3 percent from US$16 billion. But it attributed that falloff to the expected "seasonality" in the semiconductor industry. For more than a decade, with the exception of the boom year 2000, sales have been slightly lower in January than December, the association said.

"We continue to expect sales for all of 2004 to meet the current forecast of 19.4 percent with broad-based strength in all major end-markets, especially computation, communications, global consumer and automotive," SIA President George Scalise said in a statement.