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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