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The purchase of semiconductor equipment in North America and Europe increased significantly in the first quarter. It is a proof that shows the U.S. and major European countries are taking actions to establish their semiconductor production bases in their own countries. It shows that semiconductor production centered on Asian countries, such as South Korea·China·Taiwan, will spread to the U.S. and Europe.

The International Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI) announced through ‘Semiconductor Equipment Market Statistical Report’ on the 2nd that the world's semiconductor equipment sales recorded 24.7 billion USD in the first quarter, which is 5% growth compared to the same period last year. Compared to the previous quarter, it decreased by 10%. This can be reflection of the fact that the first quarter is the off-season for semiconductor equipment.

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By region, semiconductor equipment purchases in North America and Europe increased significantly. North America reached 2.62 billion USD, up 14% from the previous quarter and 96% from the same period last year. Europe reached 1.28 billion USD, up 18% from the previous quarter and 119% from the same period last year.

The total amount is small compare to South Korea, China and Taiwan, but the growth rate is very high. China reached $7.57 billion recording the country where purchased the most semiconductor equipment, but only the growth rate was only 27% increase compared to the same period last year. South Korea and Taiwan reached 5.15 billion USD and 4.88 billion USD, but growth rates were decreased by 29% and 15%, respectively, compared to the same period last year.

This growth of North America and Europe is caused by their attempts to relocate Asian-centered semiconductor production bases to their own countries. The U.S. and Europe are attracting semiconductor manufacturing plants through large-scale incentives such as facility investment tax credits. As a result, the purchase of related semiconductor equipment is also believed to have increased sharply. Japan also reached 1.9 billion USD, up 15% from the same period last year. It is a result of a change in the Japanese government's semiconductor investment policy.

It is also worth to pay attention to the fact that even with the U.S.’ check with China, China ranks first in the world in terms of the amount of semiconductor equipment purchased. China reached 29.6 billion USD in semiconductor equipment purchases last year, becoming the largest purchaser of semiconductor equipment for the second year in a row. It is observed that China, which cannot purchase semiconductor equipment for advanced processes, is significantly increasing their semiconductor production capacity with a focus on mature processes.

Ajit Manocha, CEO of SEMI, said, “As fab production continues to increase, semiconductor equipment sales in the first quarter are following the positive forecast of the semiconductor equipment market this year. It is visible that semiconductor equipment sales increased compared to the previous quarter in North America and Europe in order to strengthen domestic manufacturing capability .”

By Staff Reporter Dong-jun Kwon (