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Business trends

Smartphone slump weighs on Japan's electronic suppliers

Auto industry emerges as new engine driving orders

An Alps Electric plant in China. Orders held steady at the Japanese manufacturer as solid demand for automotive components made up for sluggish sales of smartphone parts.

TOKYO -- Japan's major electronic parts makers are seeing a slowdown in demand as smartphones prove a less reliable growth driver.

Orders at six leading manufacturers -- Murata Manufacturing, TDK, Kyocera, Nidec, Alps Electric and Nitto Denko -- rose 7% on the year to around 1.69 trillion yen ($15 billion) for the July-September period, an all-time quarterly record, data compiled by Nikkei shows. The figure also marked an eighth straight quarter of gains. Sales were used as a proxy for orders in some cases.

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