Out of the Factory

Asia’s place in the global high-tech industry has broadened and become more sophisticated, a shift from its decades-long role as a cheaper builder of gadgets and software than North America and Europe.

U.S. companies such as Apple Inc., Google Inc., Amazon.com Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Facebook Inc. are driving the tectonic change from personal computers to mobile ones, chiefly in the shape of smartphones and tablets. But Asian companies are in the forefront of innovation, designing and building the devices and many of their key components, from chips to screens.

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