Global chip sales skyrocket in January

Semiconductor sales up 47.2% over January 2009, industry group says

While worldwide semiconductor sales in January were up just slightly from December, they wildly outpaced numbers from the same time a year ago.

And that, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), is a sign that the industry is on the upswing after being pummeled by the down economy over the last several years.

Global chip sales hit $22.5 billion in January. That's an increase of 0.3% over the previous month. However, it's a whopping 47.2% increase over sales in January 2009 , the association said in a report released today.

"Worldwide semiconductor sales in January increased significantly compared to one year ago, reflecting today's improving business environment for the industry," SIA President George Scalise said in a written statement. "January and February of 2009 were the low point of the industry downturn as the semiconductor industry and electronics manufacturers quickly responded to the global economic recession."

iSuppli, a market research firm, predicted today that revenue for the entire first quarter of 2010 will show "impressive growth" compared to the same quarter last year . Analysts at iSuppli noted that they expect worldwide chip revenue in the first quarter to be up 48.5% over the same period in 2009.

"The 48.5% year-over-year growth in the first quarter will lay the foundation for a robust rebound in the global semiconductor business in 2010," said Dale Ford, senior vice president at iSuppli, in a written statement. "iSuppli predicts global semiconductor revenue in 2010 will rise to $279.7 billion, up 21.5% from $230.2 billion in 2009. This will mark the first year of double-digit percentage revenue growth for the semiconductor industry since 2006."

Ford also said that memory chips, including DRAM and NAND flash, are expected to be the best-selling category in the first quarter of this year. Revenue for memory products is expected to skyrocket 99.3% compared to the same period last year, iSuppli reported.

Late in January, industry analyst firm IDC reported that a rise in PC chip shipments in the last quarter of 2009 indicated that the market was bouncing back from the recession.

And last fall, Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini announced at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco that the economy had already hit rock bottom and was starting to emerge from the recessionary mire.

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