The global semiconductor market is likely to grow 10.1 percent this year, World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS) said on Tuesday, raising its earlier forecast of 8.0 percent growth due to brisk memory chip demand.

WSTS, which has member companies accounting for 85 percent of the world's chip makers, projected the chip market would expand to a record $250.46 billion in 2006, with the Americas showing the fastest expansion. It added that this would be followed by even stronger growth in the following years.

Toshio Ichiyama, chairman of WSTS's Japanese unit, told a news conference that strong demand for memory chips, including DRAM (dynamic random access memory) chips and flash memory, is leading the global semiconductor market's growth.

Sales of personal computers showed a stronger-than-expected result last year, he said. With that and results from the first quarter, we believe the momentum in the personal computer market is exceeding our expectations.

On top of that, both DRAM and flash memory are used in mobile phones and digital consumer electronics, and these are solidly driving the market, he added.

Samsung Electronics Co., the world's top maker of memory chips, earlier this month said it expected higher demand for computer memory chips in the second half of this year. Texas Instruments Inc., the No. 1 maker of semiconductors for cellphones, has also forecast strong growth in the months leading up to the winter shopping season.

WSTS also revised up its outlook for 2007 to 11 percent growth from 10.6 percent, led by the Asian market excluding Japan, and forecast 12.8 percent market growth in 2008.

In 2005, growth in the global semiconductor market slowed to 6.8 percent after a 28 percent rise the previous year, WSTS said.