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Booming demand for PCs and phones squeezes tech supply chain

Companies scramble to secure capacity amid shortages of key chip components

United Microelectronics is one of the companies enjoying bulging order books as customers scramble for supplies amid a tech component shortage. (Source photos by EPA/Jiji and Screenshot from United Microelectronics Corp's website) 

TAIPEI -- For the sales representatives at chip contract manufacturer United Microelectronics, this is usually the busiest season -- time to chase after customers and fill the order books for next year. But this year the situation is just the opposite: UMC's customers are scrambling for supplies.

Companies from Intel, the U.S. tech giant that sources manufacturing of Wi-Fi and power chips to UMC, to MediaTek, a leading mobile chipmaker, and Realtek, a key provider of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi chips, are all asking UMC for more support, two people familiar with the matter said.

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