Year-on-year worldwide chip equipment billings dropped 19 percent to 13.8 billion dollars in the first quarter of this year, Semi reports. There are vast differences between regions, however. Taiwanese and North American investments soared by 68 percent and 47 percent respectively, while Korean investments plummeted 54 percent. Even the Chinese market, which last year was predicted to become the world’s largest (link in Dutch), was down 11 percent.
The slowdown coincides with an ongoing slump in the semiconductor market, which started late last year and is turning out worse than initially anticipated. Market researchers now predict a 7-13 percent decline in 2019.