HP is world's top chip buyer, study says

Hewlett-Packard will shell out $16.1 billion for chips in 2005, but Dell's wallet is wide open, too.

For the time being, Hewlett-Packard will keep the crown as the world's biggest spender on semiconductors, according to a report released Monday.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based computer and printer company will shell out $14.5 billion in 2004, up 31 percent from the $11 billion it spent last year, market researcher iSuppli said. HP is expected to spend $16.1 billion in 2005.

Expenditures among the top 160 original equipment manufacturers in 2004 will touch $167 billion, about 24 percent more than last year's $135 billion. The projected sum for 2005 is $184 billion. About 47 percent of chips will eventually land in Asia this year.

Dell will pay $13.4 billion for chips in 2004, about a third more than the $10.1 billion it spent the previous year, to retain the second position. But it will inch closer to HP by 2005, with its spending for next year expected to hit $15.6 billion.

The largest spending growth came from Samsung, which topped IBM and Siemens to claim the fifth position among semiconductor buyers. Samsung will spend $5.88 billion, up 36.1 percent from a year ago.

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