Logistics: The Day the Laptops Went Away

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February12, 2007: Armed forces are very dependent on microcomputers, particularly laptops, to carry out operations. For that reason, a Chinese attempt to take Taiwan by force would have a disastrous impact on the availability of military grade computers. That's because Taiwan, and Taiwanese owned companies in China, produce 18 percent of the world's supply of DRAM memory (the "RAM" every laptop and desktop PC needs to operate), as well as 98 percent of computer motherboards (every PC has one), 72 percent of LCD monitors and 82 percent of laptop computers. Last year, Taiwanese companies produced $54 billion worth of computers and computer components (43 percent on Taiwan, most of the rest in China). The U.S. produced $88 billion worth of computer equipment, and Japan $45 billion. China produced $25 billion worth, mainly via Taiwanese owned and run companies. A war between China and Taiwan would interrupt most of the planets laptop and LCD display production, as well as large percentages of other PC components. It would take over a year to start replacing the lost production elsewhere in the world. Those with money could still get laptops and DRAM, but they would have to get over the skyrocketing eBay prices first. While all this is happening, China is losing major export markets and facing widespread unemployment and economic collapse. It would appear that Taiwan's best defense against attack is to keep everyone aware of the consequences.

 


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