The first two months of 2022 saw China’s imports of integrated circuits (ICs) fall 4.6% year-on-year, marking the first drop in the metric since the start of 2020, reports the South China Morning Post. China imported 91.9 billion IC units in January and February, according to data from the General Administration of Customs, but the total value of the imports rose 19.2% to $68.8 billion amid a global chip shortage that has pushed up semiconductor prices.
For the last two years, monthly year-to-date IC import growth has hovered around 25%, with the highest growth coming in March 2021 at 33.6%. Growth started to decline at the end of the year. China combines data for the first two months of the year because of factory closures during public holidays, including New Year’s Day and the week-long Lunar New Year holiday.
“It is too early to determine whether this is a pattern or a rare instance, because the imports this year are not low,” said Li Yin, an assistant professor at Fudan University who studies China’s technology policies and innovation. The early date of this year’s Lunar New Year, which fell on February 1, may have contributed to the decline, he added.