Dataquest's annual report on the semiconductor market said that worldwide demand for chips fell to its lowest level since 1985.
In 1998 revenue worldwide was $134.8 billion, a drop of 8.4 per cent from the year before, the market research company said.
One of the biggest reasons for the decline was oversupply of Dram products, but in 1998 that dragged other product categories down, Dataquest said.
But Dataquest said that most vendors thought that the market was on the turn.
The company with the biggest growth and market share was Intel. It grew by 4.8 per cent between 1997 and 1998, with 16.9 per cent market share and revenue of $22.8 billion.
In number two position was NEC, followed by Motorola, Toshiba, TI, Hitachi, Samsung, Philips, STMicroelectronics, N.V., Fujitsu and Siemens.
Many of these companies showed precipitate negative growth year on year. NEC's growth fell by 20.4 per cent, Hitachi's by 26.6 per cent, Samsung by 21.5 per cent and Fujitsu by 17.2 per cent.
However, European chip companies largely weathered the storm, with Siemens showing positive growth of 9.2 per cent.
The microprocessor segment grew by 7.7 per cent, driven by an upturn in sales of PCs.
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