Steamy Smartphone Demand Propels Chip Sales

MarketWatch Pulse

The global semiconductor industry posted its best year on record for sales in 2014, with demand for chips picking up in the U.S. and Asia. Worldwide sales climbed a better-than-expected 9.9% in 2014 to $335.8 billion compared with $305.6 billion a year ago, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association [SIA]. December sales reached $29.1 billion, the highest of any December ever. The U.S. saw the fastest growth in 2014, with sales increasing 12.7%. Asia-Pacific and Europe followed, with sales increasing 11.4% and 7.4%, respectively. The strong demand for chips comes amid skyrocketing demand for mobile devices. Apple Inc. last quarter sold a record 74.5 million iPhones. There also has been increased competition from emerging-market brands like China's Xiaomi.

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