Android Tablet Manufacturers Face Earthquake Problems

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UPDATED: Android Tablet manufacturers, who rely on components made by Japanese manufacturers could face problems next month as current stock runs out and new stock is slow reaching manufacturing plants in China analysts claim.

“Ports are closed and deliveries are affected, especially in the electrical industry — containers are stuck in the ports,” said Fu Wing Hoong, president of the Electrical and Electronics Association of Malaysia, which is a major producer of electronics components including some that rely on parts made in Japan. “Any disruption in the electronics sector in Japan will definitely have an impact,” he said.

For the electronics industry, “I don’t think the earthquake will massively impact China’s electronics-assembly business because most of us have reached a level of self-sufficient procurement,” said Liu Xiaojun, a sales manager with Shanghai Lunsure Technology, which produces primarily semiconductors, among other electronics components.

“But we may see some shortages in terms of silicon chips and a few other special components because, after all, Japan makes the best silicon chips.”

Analysts at Morgan Stanley in Tokyo said that several manufacturers who already have components in the supply chain could be hit as “ports are at a stansstill in Northern Japan”.

The hardest hit thus far appears to be Sony, which has reported halting production at 8 separate factories in the Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures. 

One facility manufacturing Blu-ray components was flooded by the tsunami, while two others manufacturing lithium-ion battery cells were forced to shut down as a result of the disaster. Some of the company’s disc production facilities were also affected. Despite the severity of the situation, company officials reported that all workers had been evacuated safely.

Panasonic reported that some of its factory workers in the Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures had been injured as structures collapsed during the earthquake, and plants have not yet been inspected due to frequent and powerful aftershocks. Affected facilities manufactured cameras, audio equipment, and some small electronics parts.

 

 

A Toshiba NAND flash memory manufacturing facility had to shut down for a short time during the emergency, but has been able to resume production. Problems could still loom for that facility, however, as some of the primary silicon wafer suppliers in the industry have been affected by the disaster, leading to possibly severe parts shortages.

 Those shortages will also affect DRAM productions, and suppliers have declined to provide quotes to distributors and traders until they can get a more accurate reading on the severity of the situation.”Japan is a significant source of (NAND and DRAM) chips to support consumer electronics devices.  A two-week shutdown would remove from production a sizable share of each of these,” said industry analyst Jim Handy told Channel News.

 “It doesn’t take a large production decrease to cause prices to increase dramatically. “While many of the Japanese factories producing flat panel displays and LEDs were located far from the epicenter of Friday’s earthquake and were not directly affected, there may be problems in the future as these plants try to re-stock the raw materials used to manufacture the products.As the disaster continues to unfold in the region with continuing aftershocks and widening evacuation zones around the crippled nuclear energy facilities, it’s certain that the full scope of the situation has not yet been realised.

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