While the United States still leads the world with nearly 40 percent of global semiconductor purchasing, China is expected to achieve the leading growth among the top 10 nations, according to research released on Thursday.

Electronic design activities in China will influence 6.5 percent of worldwide semiconductor purchasing in 2006, compared to 5.6 percent in 2005, market research firm iSuppli contends. This will cause China to surpass Germany and South Korea to become the world’s fourth-largest national influencer of electronic-design generated semiconductor spending in 2006 overall, with the highest growth.

Design of electronic goods leads directly to equipment production, which in turn drives semiconductor purchasing, said Min-Sun Moon, OEM spend analyst for iSuppli. Companies that engage in design of electronic equipment, such as PCs, mobile phones and televisions, also are responsible for specifying the use of particular chips in the products being developed. Thus, these companies and the nations where they operate have a major influence on global semiconductor spending.

China’s advance is being driven by its work in the computer design area. Companies are also increasingly are moving operations out of Western Europe and into China, boosting the nation’s activities in this area, the firm stated.