Global Chip Sales Up in Nov

Worldwide sales of semiconductors rose 11.3 per cent to US$22.7 billion (US$1=RM3.51) in November from a year earlier, as economic confidence led to increased sales of customer products such as digital cameras. Global chip sales rose 3.1 per cent in November from October, the fifth straight month of record sales, the US Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) said in a statement. "Consumer purchases of electronic products remained strong and drove semiconductor sales to record levels," SIA president George Scalise said in the statement.

(Source: New Straits Times, 4 January 2007)


MAEI Expects Another Good Year for Electronics Sales

US electronic companies in Malaysia may see sales grow by about 8% to more than RM77 billion this year from RM72 billion projected for 2006 as global demand for semiconductors remains healthy despite fear of a slowdown in the US economy. Malaysia could benefit from strong demand for semiconductors in line with US-based Semiconductor Industry Association's (SIA) latest projection of a 10% global growth for the industry this year, Malaysian American Electronics Industry (MAEI) chairman Datuk Wong Siew Hai told FinancialDaily.

He said demand for handheld devices and other high-end consumer electronics in the US had been resilient despite the volatile global economy last year and would continue to drive growth this year. Wong, however, discounted 2% from the projected global growth of 10% for the Malaysian industry because MAEI members did not participate in all sectors of the industry. "We will have a more accurate projection in March after we complete a survey in February," he said, adding that MAEI members would finalise their annual production targets this month.

MAEI represents all major US electronics companies operating in Malaysia. Its membership of 17 companies account for about a quarter of Malaysia's total electrical and electronic (E&E) output in 2005. While some economists have projected that Malaysia's export growth would slow down this year as the US economy is slowing down, the latest statistics show that Malaysia's exports to the US are still robust.

According to the American Importers Association (AIA), Malaysia's exports to the US grew by some 10% to US$36.76 billion (RM129 billion) last year and are expected to reach US$40 billion in 2007. "People are jittery mainly due to a housing sector slowdown in the US but it has not affected consumption. The outlook for Malaysia may not be as gloomy as some people expect," Wong said.

On whether multinationals were pulling out of Malaysia, he said there were actually expansions of electronics companies operating in Penang. "I don't understand why people have such an impression (of companies pulling out from Penang)," he added. MAEI had projected that its members would increase their capital investments in Malaysia to RM3.1 billion in 2006 from RM2.76 billion in the previous year. Wong said even if a retrenchment exercise were to take place, those who lost their jobs would be absorbed by other companies because the industry was facing a shortage of skilled workers such as engineers.

(Source: The Sun, 15 January 2007)