Thailand floods will create hard-drive shortage

Flooding from monsoons in Thailand is expected to have a ripple effect on the computer industry into 2012, temporarily cutting the global production of hard drives by up to 30 percent, analysts say.

Thailand, which suffered a deluge of rain across the country in early October, is the No. 2 maker of hard disk drives, behind only China, Reuters reports, and the effect of floods could keep manufacturers there closed or in limited production for months.

The shortage is expected to affect PC-makers from Taiwan-based Acer and Asustek to giants such as Apple and Dell.

Pegatron Corp, which makes hard drives for Asustek, told Reuters it has enough inventory for the next six to eight weeks, but production after that would depend on how fast Thailand could return to normal.

Dell also said it didn’t expect a short-term impact, Xbit Labs reported, but did not comment on the long-term effects. Apple CEO Timothy Cook told reporters in a conference call that his is concerned about the potential shortage, Xbit reported.

The floods shut down 14,000 factories, affected hundreds of thousands of homes and left more than 660,000 people out of work, ZDNet said. The resulting shortage of hard drives is expected to extend into 2012.

However, some analysts suggest the impact might not be too severe, pointing to the response to the earthquake in Japan in March 2011 as an example of the industry’s resilience.

Meanwhile, Tim Worstall at the Channel Register wonders why globalization hasn’t solved these types of shortages.

About the Author

Kevin McCaney is a former editor of Defense Systems and GCN.


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