Japan Appears Dispensable as a Supplier

Maybe Japan is not as crucial to the global supply chain as those first weeks after the earthquake made it seem.

Consider the case of STMicroelectronics, Europe’s giant in the semiconductor business, which buys silicon wafers, chemicals and chip-packaging components from Japan.

STMicroelectronics has more than $10 billion a year in sales. Its major customers span a variety of industries — consumer electronics, autos, mobile phones and computers — and include Apple, Bosch, Hewlett-Packard, Nokia and Sony Ericsson.

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