Global semiconductor sales have risen 36.9 per cent this year, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA).

The SIA says this has been caused by brisk demand for wireless phone handsets, particularly in Asia where semiconductor demand rose 54 per cent. Europe saw a 290 per cent rise, North America 27 per cent and Japan 25 per cent.

SIA President George Scalise said: "At $17.32 billion, global semiconductor sales reached their highest level since December of 2000, reflecting continued healthy economic growth, especially in the US and China. The industry fundamentals continue to look good, leading us to expect strong growth through the remainder of 2004."