ByJill Jusko Worldwide sales of semiconductor equipment nearly doubled in 2000 over the previous year, reports industry association Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI). Sales totaled $48.4 billion in 2000 compared with $25.5 billion in 1999, and include data for the six major semiconductor-producing regions and 21 product categories. San Jose-based SEMI released its 2000 data in the "Worldwide Semiconductor Equipment Market Statistics Report." Figures for 2000 show North America as the largest market for semiconductor equipment, with sales rising to $13.15 billion, an increase of 77% over the previous year's figures. "The yearend totals confirm what was increasingly apparent all last year: 2000 was a record buster," says SEMI President and CEO Stanley T. Myers.