Japanese makers of semiconductor-fabricating equipment will expand production to fill increased demand from US and Taiwanese chip manufacturers, according to Nihon Keizai Shimbun. The news coincides with a report from the Semiconductor Industry Association that says global semiconductor sales in June increased 7.5% to $11.39bn. Orders for chip-making gear had seen an off period from last summer to January, as Japanese and South Korean makers reduced capital investment due to the depressed market for 16Mb DRAMs. Nikon Corp, the largest producer of steppers, says it will spend about 8bn yen ($70m) to increase capacity at one of its plants from 200 to 500 systems per year, while Canon Inc will also increase stepper capacity by 20% at one of its facilities by year-end. Tokyo Electron Ltd is building a plant to produce coating and developing equipment for silicon wafers beginning next spring. And Advantest Corp, the largest maker of semiconductor testers, will expand its Japanese plant, increasing by 20% the production capacity for testers to handle logic ICs and high-speed memory devices.
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