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HP remains top chip buyer

Hewlett-Packard tops the list of chip buyers in 2003 as PC sales began picking up again, according to market researcher iSuppli.

Hewlett-Packard remained on top of the list of chip buyers in 2003, according to new data from market researcher iSuppli.

With chip purchases worth $11 billion in 2003, HP led the list. Dell followed with $10.2 billion in chip spending. HP and Dell increased their chip spending by 11.9 percent and 21.1 percent respectively, largely fueled by the rise in demand for PCs by consumers and businesses, iSuppli said Thursday.

A jump in sales of mobile handsets also led Nokia, Samsung and Motorola to boost their chip spending by double-digits. And an upturn in Japan's economy and electronics industry contributed to a 27.1 percent increase in chip purchases of Hitachi. Siemens was the only company in the top 10 to see a decline. Its chip spending fell by 0.6 percent, the market researcher said.

Overall, the top 10 spenders accounted for 34.4 percent of all chip purchases from original equipment manufacturers last year.

During the year, shipments to the Americas, Europe, Middle East and Africa region declined, while those to Japan increased by 1 percentage point, making it second biggest destination for chips globally, iSuppli said. Chinese gear makers like ZTE, Huawei and TCL increased their chip spending substantially. Overall, the biggest increase was made by Eastman Kodak at 153 percent.

A number of studies have predicted a bright year for chip sales. According to Gartner, global revenue from chips in 2004 is poised to grow to $217 billion from last year's $177 billion, a rise of nearly 23 percent. Monthly figures released by the Semiconductor Industry Association also reflect this optimism.

iSuppli said the Asia-Pacific region is the top destination for chip shipments in 2004, with 40.4 percent of all chips going to the region, up from 36.9 percent in 2002, largely buoyed by increasing production of electronics gear in China.