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Global Chip Sales Top 1tn in 2021, Set to Go Higher

Some 1.15 trillion computer chips were sold, with 34% growth in auto-grade chips that can withstand heat and other challenges. Industry body expects 8.8% growth in 2022

A worker inspects chips at the semiconductor packaging firm Unisem (M) Berhad plant in Ipoh
Analysts say Chinese companies had been "extraordinarily adept" at getting round the West's export controls via third parties, groups offshore or shell companies, which can be hard to track because they often change their names. Photo: Reuters.


The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) said on Monday that global chip sales hit a record in 2021 at $555.9 billion, up 26.2% on the year, and it forecast 8.8% growth for 2022 as chip makers continue to build up production capacity to meet demand.

“It’s still really trending very strongly towards increased demand. We’re just not going to get this kind of slingshot effect that we had in the pandemic,” said SIA CEO John Neuffer, of the much slower growth projected for 2022.

Sales in 2020 grew 6.8% over the prior year, while 2021 was the first year since 2018 that the number of chips sold exceeded 1 trillion, he said.

While major semiconductor manufacturers such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co, Samsung Electronics Co, and Intel Corp have announced tens of billions of dollars in investments for new factories in the past year, Neuffer said the digitalisation trend ramped up by the pandemic would continue to drive demand higher.

“We think in the foreseeable future that there’s going to be plenty of demand for us to do very, very aggressive plant construction,” he said.

In 2021 1.15 trillion semiconductors were sold, with the biggest growth among auto-grade chips that can withstand heat and other physical challenges, Neuffer said. Sales for that segment rose 34% over the prior year at $26.4 billion. Unit sales rose 33%, he said.

China remained the largest individual market for semiconductors, with sales totalling $192.5 billion in 2021, an increase of 27.1%, the SIA said.


• Reuters with additional editing by Jim Pollard



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Jim Pollard

Jim Pollard is an Australian journalist based in Thailand since 1999. He worked for News Ltd papers in Sydney, Perth, London and Melbourne before travelling through SE Asia in the late 90s. He was a senior editor at The Nation for 17+ years.


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