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Dell chief executive sees chip shortage lasting a few years

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FILE PHOTO: The logo of a Dell laptop computer is pictured in Pasadena
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BERLIN (Reuters) - A worldwide lack of semiconductors is proving a challenge for computer manufacturers, but the shortage is likely to persist for some years, the chief executive and founder of Dell Technologies told Germany's Handelsblatt newspaper.

A surge in demand for electronic devices, coupled with U.S. sanctions against Chinese technology firms, has caused a dearth of the chips, crimping output of items ranging from cars to computers and smartphones.

"The shortage will probably continue for a few years," Michael Dell said in an interview published on Tuesday. "Even if chip factories are built all over the world it takes time."

With an annual order volume of $70 billion, the firm is one of the most important customers of many semiconductor makers, but still had to pay a premium to secure supply, Dell added.

In particular, older and cheaper semiconductors are hard to get hold of, he said.

"We are talking, in particular, about components that are in the one-dollar range and are used practically everywhere," he said. "But even newer technologies are not easy to come by."

(Writing by Caroline Copley; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)