SAN JOSE, Calif., Sept. 5 -- The semiconductor market soared to new highs with global sales of $17.3 billion in July. This year's sales represented a significant jump when compared with last year's $11.5 billion, according to the report done by the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA). July's record-breaking numbers are a telling reminder that semiconductors play a critical role in many hot growth industries, said George Scalise, president of the SIA. These sales reflect the fact that semiconductors are being used in ever more interesting, exciting and useful ways. Semiconductors are now being used in applications from optical networks to video games. The SIA report attributed the strong sales to the worldwide growth in Internet infrastructure and wireless communications. The Asia Pacific and Japan markets increased by a respective 57.3 and 52.0 percent compared with last year's totals. And the American markets grew by 46.1 percent while Europe's sales grew 46.5 percent when compared with the previous year. The SIA's report is a three-month moving average of sales activity recorded by the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics organization, which represent some 70 companies.