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The global shortage of semiconductors has made the fierce competition in the tech industry even more cutthroat.   © Illustration by Michael Tsang
Business Spotlight

How the chip shortage got so bad -- and why it's so hard to fix

Surging demand and political tension play havoc with global supply chains

CHENG TING-FANG and LAULY LI, Nikkei staff writers | Taiwan

TAIPEI -- By the time that Dung, the founder and CEO of a hardware startup in Taipei, realized the global tech industry was facing a serious chip shortage, there was little he could do about it.

"When I became aware of the real component shortage this January, it was already kind of too late," said Dung, whose company makes affordable industrial computers. "Some of my suppliers told me that I would have to wait until October or even later for some chips, which I used to be able to order just a month ahead. ...That means I may have nothing to ship for almost the whole year, even if I have orders from customers."

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