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Chips on path to recovery

The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) says that sales of PCs, mobile phones and other consumer products are pushing the global semiconductor industry towards recovery this quarter.

In its annual forecast statement, released on 7 November, the SIA said that the industry would start to recover this quarter from both the excess inventory that haunted it last year and this year's weak demand. Slow growth will occur throughout 2002, and then the market will return to a normal growth pattern, increasing by about 21% in both 2003 and 2004, the SIA said.

While the SIA forecasts that global sales of semiconductors will decrease 31% this year dropping to $141bn, the market will grow by 6% in 2002 to be worth $218bn worldwide in 2004.

Geographically, the Americas are a market worth $36bn this year. The region will grow by 4% next year and 21% in both 2003 and 2004, becoming a market worth $56bn in 2004. Europe, which is currently a $30bn market, will grow 1% next year and 20% in both 2003 and 2004, reaching the $44bn point in 2004.

Japan and the Asia-Pacific market will see similar growth, with the Japanese semiconductor market growing from $35bn this year into a $52bn market by 2004. The Asia-Pacific market will grow from $39bn this year to reach a market value of $67bn in 2004, the SIA said.

The largest revenue-generating category will be the metal-oxide semiconductor (MOS) market, which is driven primarily by communications and application-specific integrated circuit products, including display drivers for flat-panel displays, the SIA said. MOS products make up a $25bn market this year but will grow into a market worth $38bn by 2004.

DRAM, digital signal processors (DSPs) and Flash memory are also expected to show strong growth, with DRAM growing from a $12bn market this year to a $29bn market in 2004, the SIA said. The DSP market is expected to double in the same period, growing from a $4bn market this year to an $8bn market in 2004.

The Flash memory market, driven largely by sales of data-capable high-speed mobile phones and digital cameras, will grow from a $7.8bn market this year to a $12bn market in 2004, the SIA said. Digital cameras have already proved their importance in the market for Flash memory chips.

The direct effects on the industry of the 11 September terrorist attacks, such as transportation difficulties caused by the grounding of commercial flights, are almost completely in the past, SIA President George Scalise said.

"It's our view that for the most part, by the time we got to 1 October, that was all behind us," he added.
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