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Tech Industry

PC chip revenue to surge in 2004

Market researcher IDC predicts that if all goes well, revenue in semiconductors for desktops and laptops will hit $53.6 billion this year.

Consumers helped buoy PC semiconductor sales in the second half of 2003, but a continuing recovery for chipmakers will depend on corporate buying as well, market research firm IDC said Monday.

Growth in 2004 will depend on factors beyond economic upturn and seasonal purchases, hinging on sales of PCs to both consumers and businesses, according to IDC. Semiconductor revenue in desktop and mobile segments will grow 18 percent to $53.6 billion in 2004, the research firm predicted. That will be the peak annual growth rate during the period from 2003 to 2008. The compound annual growth rate during the period is pegged at 7.8 percent, with revenue in the final year of that period set to come in at $66.1 billion.

Revenue is expected to grow faster for mobile PC chips than in other segments. The mobile chip segment will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 16.1 percent, IDC said, while chip revenue for the desktop PC segment will grow at 2.9 percent. By 2008, mobile PC semiconductor revenue will be almost same as that of desktop PC chip revenue, compared with 50 percent of desktop revenue in 2003. The PC processor and main memory subsystems will grow the most, while wireless connectivity will drive revenue of communication chips, IDC said.

Signs of an upturn are abundant. The Semiconductor Industry Association last week, for instance, reported that 2004 began on a positive note. Worldwide sales of semiconductors reached $15.5 billion during the first month of the year, up 26.6 percent from the $12.3 billion in sales in January of 2003.

"The recovery of the PC semiconductor market will hit its stride in 2004, specifically in the second half of the year," Shane Rau, IDC's semiconductor analyst, said in a statement. "Carrying the recovery along will be the key trends of mobility, connectivity and increasing overlap between the consumer and PC markets."