According to data gathered by World Semiconductor Trade Statistics and reported by the Semiconductor Industry Association, Europe continues as the sick man of the semiconductor industry as its showed relatively meagre growth in a global market that took off strongly in January.

Notably the China market, which buys one third of global chip production, jumped up in growth after a weak blip the previous month. The rest of Asia-Pacific, which buys almost as much as China, leaped even higher.

Although three-month averaged sales for Europe in January grew by 6.4 percent Japan’s uplift was 9.6 percent and everywhere was in double figures. Remarkably China went from 4.4 percent growth in December to 12.4 percent in January although this may reflect the beginning of suppressed market activity in China in January 2020 as the seriousness of the Covid-19 pandemic emerged. In which case expect to see even higher figures for China in the next couple of months that will then ripple through to other geographic regions.

All the geographic regions showed strong annual growth that was increased from the previous month

Asia-Pacific’s high growth – including such locations as Taiwan and South Korea – now leads the global market in growth.

The three-month average of worldwide sales of semiconductors in January was US$40.01 billion, an increase of 13.2 percent over the equivalent figure in 2020, and up 1 percent sequentially.

Three-month average of chip sales by geographic region for January 2021 and December 2020. Source: SIA/WSTS.

“Global semiconductor sales got off to a strong start in 2021, increasing both year-to-year and month-to-month in January,” said John Neuffer, CEO of the SIA, in a statement. “Global semiconductor production is on the rise to meet increasing demand and ease the ongoing chip shortage affecting the auto sector and others, and annual sales are projected to increase in 2021.”

Monthly data is given by the SIA as a three-month average although the source of the data, the WSTS, tracks actual monthly data. The SIA and other regional semiconductor industry bodies opt to use averaged data because it evens out the actual data that typically shows troughs at the beginnings of quarters and peaks at the ends of quarters.

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