Taiwan expects multiple impacts on tech from Japan quake

Production costs will go up, says Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs

Taiwan's economic ministry expects semiconductor and display panel industries on the island to take a hit from the earthquake in Japan last week as supplies are suspended due to factory damage or transportation snarls, translating in some cases to higher manufacturing costs.

Local display-panel giants AU Optronics and Chimei-Innolux will see "a rather large impact" if Hitachi Chemical slows production of anisotropic conductive film, an epoxy that binds chips to glass or circuit boards, the ministry's Industrial Development Bureau said in a report late on Wednesday. Hitachi provides about 50 percent of the world's supplies of the film.

Semiconductor makers in Taiwan face a "fight to get raw materials" as 50 percent of the world's silicon wafer stock comes from two Japanese firms, Shin-Etsu and Sumco Corp., both affected by Friday's magnitude 9.0 quake, the bureau's report said.

The report echoed concerns expressed by economists and by the companies themselves.

The unusually strong quake off Japan's east coast north of Tokyo has led to rolling blackouts and slowed domestic transportation. Thousands of people have been confirmed dead.

"In terms of the ripple effect on the majority of our country's industries, it should come from flat screens, semiconductors and solar panels as they use of a lot of upstream materials and key components," the report said. "But the degree of impact needs to be monitored for each company's raw material stocks and whether they have a replacement source."

The ministry did not give a timeline for possible quake impacts or estimate how much they would end up costing local tech firms in Taiwan, which builds components and contracts to make PCs for the world's top brands.

Effects on supplies are hard to gauge partly because Taiwanese firms have found it hard to get information from Epson, Toshiba Semiconductor and others in the disaster area, the report said. But downstream chip makers will see costs rise if wafer stock dries up, the report said.

On Wednesday, a lead tech researcher with Bank of America Merrill Lynch said the supply chain would take as long as six months to return to normal. Some analysts expect any raw material shortages from Japan to delay shipments of PCs and consumer electronics and raise their retail prices.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags hardware systemsconsumer electronicstoshibahitachiseiko epsonAU OptronicsComponentsChimei-InnoluxShin-EtsuSumco Corp

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Ralph Jennings

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?