The Crack In Japan's Chip Market Could Be Smaller Than It Looks

At first glance, U.S. chip companies appear to be gaining in their efforts to sell in Japan. A survey by the Semiconductor Industry Assn., a U.S. trade group, shows that foreign suppliers increased their share of the Japanese market in the second quarter by up to one point over the first quarter's 14.6%.

Still, one market researcher thinks the gain is overstated. In-Stat Inc. has reevaluated the Japanese market by looking more closely at how many chips Japanese companies buy from their own subsidiaries. With those purchases added, the size of Japan's market increases by nearly $3 billion, to $23.8 billion in 1991. That would drop foreign market share to 12.8% and moves NEC from third place to first among the world's top chipmakers. Either way, foreign companies will have a tough time capturing 20% of the Japanese market by yearend, the goal in a trade agreement signed last year. To help out, the Electronic Industries Association of Japan has opened an office in Foster City, Calif., to provide U.S. companies with advice and Japanese contacts. Some U.S. managers contend the move is merely for show.

1991 chip revenues  Billions
      1. NEC                $5.1
      2. TOSHIBA             4.8
      3. INTEL               4.0
      4. HITACHI             3.8
      5. MOTOROLA            3.7
      6. TEXAS INSTRUMENTS   2.7
      7. FUJITSU             2.7
      8. MITSUBISHI          2.5
      9. PHILIPS/SIGNETICS   2.0
      10. MATSUSHITA         1.9
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