• Kyodo

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Global chip sales are expected to rise 19.7% to $527.22 billion (¥58.1 trillion) in 2021, as demand has been far outstripping supply in the consumer electronics and auto sectors, and the world economy is rebounding from the coronavirus pandemic slump, according to estimates by an industry body.

Semiconductor sales are projected to continue growing into 2022, with an 8.8% increase to $573.44 billion, World Semiconductor Trade Statistics Inc. said in its latest forecast.

Chip demand has spiked since the need to stay at home amid the COVID-19 pandemic has boosted sales of laptop and tablet computers.

Working from home, online classes and other network activities have also increased internet traffic, requiring data centers to ramp up capacity. In Japan, internet traffic last year was up 1.6 times compared with levels in 2019.

Automakers have sought to raise production to meet reviving demand but many manufacturers such as Honda Motor Co. and Volkswagen AG have cut their output and sales plans as they are not able to procure enough chips.

General Motors Co. said in February that it would scale back production at four plants and the supply shortage was expected to continue for one year.

Chip supplies have also tightened as other industries prepare for the reopening of economies in line with the rollout of coronavirus vaccines.

The Asia-Pacific region, excluding Japan, is expected to lead worldwide sales this year with the highest increase of 23.5%, followed by a rise of 21.1% in Europe, according to the organization that represents 44 semiconductor manufacturers.

The chip market in Japan is forecast to expand 12.7% and that in the Americas to grow 11.1%.

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