TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Global sales of semiconductor-making equipment in fiscal 2008 that ended in March plunged 47.9 percent from the previous year to $22.20 billion (about 2.1 trillion yen), an industry body said Thursday.
The rapid global economic slowdown dented demand for semiconductors, pushing the sales figure below the year-before level for the first time in three years, the Semiconductor Equipment Association of Japan said.
The pace of decline is the sharpest since the bursting of the dot.com bubble in fiscal 2001, according to the association.
Domestic sales of chip-making equipment also tumbled 41.9 percent to $5.48 billion. But on a country basis, Japan outpaced Taiwan, claiming the top spot in sales for the first time in two years.
"New orders for (semiconductor manufacturing equipment) have shown some signs of picking up, but the market will likely face severe conditions for some time," said an official at the association.