Worldwide sales of chip-making equipment in June posted the highest percentage growth in months, with demand expected to grow still further in the next quarter, an industry group said Monday.

Semiconductor Equipment Association of Japan (SEAJ) said global sales of tools used to make microchips jumped to $3.99 billion in June, up 50 percent from a year earlier. The sales data represents the highest percentage growth in 21 months.

This was driven by strong sales, the group said, up 4-fold in China with large growth in North America and Taiwan.

Chinese companies bought 353% more chip-making tools in the period than in the previous year, purchasing equipment worth $443m for the country's booming electronics manufacturing sector.

Chip equipment sales grew by 100% in the US and Canada - but this growth was dwarfed by the Chinese expansion in chip-making capacity.

SEAJ works with the California-based Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International group (SEMI) to monitor industry demand.