Chip sales hit record high

Global chip sales leaped to a record high of US$21.37 billion in September, boosted by demand for mobile phones, digital music players and PCs, the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) said Thursday.

PC memory chip sales also boosted the chip industry, as vendors add more DRAM (dynamic-RAM) to new PCs in order to keep up with the hardware requirements for Microsoft Corp.’s Windows Vista OS, SIA said. DRAM sales rose by 10 percent month-on-month, while microprocessor sales increased by 4 percent. Sales of microprocessors actually declined 11 percent compared to the same month last year due to the price war going on between Intel Corp. and rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc.

Mobile phone sales also boosted the chip industry, particularly on demand in India and China, SIA said, where ultra-low-cost handsets have pushed demand. Texas Instruments Inc., the world’s largest maker of chips for handsets, said in late October that ultra-low cost mobile phones are taking up a much larger share of the overall handset market than before, a trend it expects to continue for a long time.

The September sales record was up 9.3 percent over the same month last year, and beat the old record of $20.5 billion reported in August of this year.

The SIA predicted a strong fourth quarter for the chip industry as retailers stock shelves ahead of the holiday shopping season. The industry group reiterated its prediction for 9.8 percent global sales growth for the global industry this year.

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