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Taiwan Chipmakers Expect Minimal Disruption After Deadly Earthquake

Previous quakes have badly disrupted the global electronics industry. Not this time, chipmakers say.

Ashley Pon/Getty Images

Chipmakers in Taiwan say they expect only small disruptions to the supply of chips used in smartphones and PCs in the wake of an earthquake that killed at least 12 and collapsed apartment buildings in the southern portion of the Asian country.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, the $25 billion (2014 sales) company that manufactures chips for Apple and Qualcomm among others reported no injuries or serious damage to its factories and said the quake, which measured 6.4 on the Richter scale, isn’t expected to affect chip deliveries by more than 1 percent this quarter. In a statement posted to its website TSMC said it expects most of its equipment to be up and running within two to three days. UMC, another chipmaker, said it expects “no meaningful impact” from the quake.

The timing of the quake may have been lucky for the country’s chip industry, occurring during the seasonally slower first quarter and just head of the country’s New Year celebrations. A Taiwan quake in September 1999 measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale killed more then 2,400 and idled the country’s chip industry for six days. Supply chain disruptions hammered the computer industry, just when it was gearing up to meet holiday season demand, and hurt the results of companies like Hewlett-Packard and Dell for most of the following year.

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