Demand for mobile phones, iPods and PCs boosted global chip sales to a record high of US$21.37 billion (£11 billion) in September, says the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA). The European market led the field with 6.4 per cent month-on-month growth. The weakest rise (1.8 per cent) was in the Americas.
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's Windows Vista OS, SIA said. DRAM sales rose by 10 per cent month-on-month, while microprocessor sales increased by 4 per cent.
Sales of microprocessors actually declined 11 per cent compared to the same month last year due to the price war going on between Intel and rival Advanced Micro Devices.
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, 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 per cent 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 Christmas shopping season. The industry group reiterated its prediction for 9.8 per cent global sales growth for the global industry this year.