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Flash Memory Leads Semiconductor Growth

Worldwide sales of semiconductors rose in August, growing to $21.5 billion, an increase of 4.9 percent over August 2006, when sales were $20.5 billion, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA).

Sales of NAND flash memory devices led the growth as supplies tightened and prices firmed. NAND flash sales were up by 48 percent compared to August 2006 and up by 19 percent from July of this year.

Credit Suisse and the Gartner Group have revised upward their forecasts for growth in unit sales of personal computers from 11 percent to 13 percent for 2007. PC unit growth is proving to be very solid in 2007.

PCs account for approximately 40 percent of all semiconductor sales and are growing most rapidly in emerging markets, where lower-cost PCs with lower silicon content have been selling well.

Unit sales of cell phones are also running well ahead of our earlier forecast of 10 percent growth, and SIA expects that total unit sales will be up by 15 percent in 2007.

Increased affordability of handsets is aiding sales in developing markets such as China and India, while demand has also strengthened in established markets such as Europe and the U.S.

SIA says that semiconductor content of many existing products is growing rapidly. One example is the automobile where engine control, global positioning systems, braking control, audio systems, and sensors for safety applications are demanding more semiconductors for each new model.

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