The worldwide sales of semiconductor manufacturing equipment totaled $32.88 billion in 2005, down from the $37.08 billion posted in 2004, according to data compiled in the Worldwide Semiconductor Equipment Market Statistics Report. The report was released by Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI), an association of companies that supply manufacturing technology and materials to chip makers. It represents a summary of the monthly billing and bookings figures for the industry. According to the compilation, the market in the South Korean region experienced the strongest increase in 2005, rising 26 percent to a total of $5.8 billion. The region surpassed Taiwan to become the second-largest equipment market. Japan, the market leader, experienced a 1 percent decline in sales. The markets in Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines and other areas of Southeast Asia declined by 36 percent, and the Chinese market, by 50 percent. The Taiwanese market, which saw a 166 percent increase in equipment spending in 2004, decreased by 23 percent in 2005. The European and North American markets declined 5 and 2 percent, respectively. Statistics also reveal that sales of global wafer processing equipment shrank by 10 percent, the assembly and packaging segment, by 13 percent, and total test equipment sales, by 17 percent. The compilation includes data from seven semiconductor-producing regions and 22 product categories. Figures were submitted by members of SEMI, of San Jose, Calif., and of the Semiconductor Equipment Association of Japan.