iPad and other gadgets drain Asia of electronic components

The launch this year of must-have gadgets such as the iPad, the iPhone 4 and a host of other smartphones, tablet computers and 3D televisions is draining the Asian market dry of electronic components.

An iPad is sold on average every 2.3 seconds, with three million sold in the first 80 days after its launch in the US in April. Three million iPhone 4 smartphones were also sold in only three weeks since its June release.

The increase in demand has made this a hot summer so far for Taiwanese touchscreen maker Wintek, and not just because temperatures have risen to abnormally high levels.

Located in the central Taiwanese city of Taichung, the company has struggled to keep up with insatiable demand for its high-tech components.

"The strong demand exceeds our expectations," said a Wintek official, speaking on condition of anonymity. "Our clients keep pushing us to increase supplies."

Wintek, whose customers reportedly include global brands such as Apple of the United States, Finland's Nokia and South Korea's LG, said the component shortage surfaced in the second quarter of the year.

Apart from a gradual global recovery, one of the triggers for the sudden spike in demand for components has been the launch of several much-anticipated products, especially the iPad tablet computer from Apple.

For many products, the lead time - the period from when a customer orders an item until he gets it - has expanded significantly beyond the usual 10 to 12 weeks, according to iSuppli, an electronics industry research firm.

"When lead times enter the 20-week range, they indicate a major schism between component supply and demand," said Rick Pierson, a senior analyst for semiconductors and component price tracking at iSuppli.

Matthew Chao, an analyst at Taiwan's Industrial Technology Research Institute, said the iPad would continue to send ripple effects through the industry, causing demand to rise further.

For instance, HP and Acer are planning to unveil their own tablet computers in the third and fourth quarters, which will further boost demand for components, he said.

"The market for smartphones and tablet computers is looking very bullish, especially since the fourth quarter is the traditional high season for the holidays," he said.

South Korean firms say they are struggling to acquire components due to shortages caused by strong demand, although they insist there have been no serious delays yet in overall production and shipments.

Samsung Electronics and Hynix Semiconductor, the world's largest and second-largest computer microchip makers, have boosted capital outlays to meet rising global demand.

Factories for Samsung and LG, which produce gadgets including mobile phones and flat panel screens, are running flat out.

"Our plants are now running at full capacity due to strong demand and brisk sales," a Samsung spokesman said.

Yet Samsung's production of memory chips meets only 70 percent of total international demand and its output of 3D televisions covers 80 percent of demand, he said.

Samsung is experiencing a shortage of touchscreen panels for mobile phones although this is not serious enough to delay production and shipments, he said.

"Spending on facilities has been boosted, but we expect the shortage of components to get worse because of unexpectedly strong demand," the spokesman said.

Regionwide in Asia, producers of components are likely to launch ambitious expansion plans, analysts believe.

"Component makers for these products will keep expanding their output to meet growing demand," said Chao of the Taiwanese industrial research institute.

Taiwan's Wintek is currently expanding its production lines in the Chinese cities of Dongguan and Suzhou to catch up with the demand, adding a healthy 1.6 million touchscreens to the monthly supply.

The component makers may need all the extra capacity they can get as touch panel screens within the PC market is expected to grow rapidly in the coming years.

"Market estimates (show) that the tablet PC will form almost a quarter of the global PC market by 2015," said Satish Lele, an analyst at consulting firm Frost and Sullivan.

burs-ph/aw/bsk/aad

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Arts and Entertainment
JK Rowling will not be releasing a 'romance' novel anytime soon
books
Life and Style
tech

Of all the computers Apple has ever made there’s only one that Steve Jobs had to sell his car to finance

Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidates on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
News
One of the 'princesses' in the video
videoYouTube reinstates sweary video after takedown for 'violating terms'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Business Intelligence Consultant - Central London - £80,000

    £65000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Business Intelligence Consultant - C...

    Front end web developer - URGENT CONTRACT

    £250 - £300 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT** Our...

    SQL Developer - Cardiff - £40,000

    £30000 - £40000 per annum + benefits and bonus: Ashdown Group: SQL Developer -...

    SQL Developer - Cardiff - £40,000

    £30000 - £40000 per annum + benefits and bonus: Ashdown Group: SQL Developer ...

    Day In a Page

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

    A crime that reveals London's dark heart

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
    Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

    Lost in translation: Western monikers

    Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
    Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

    Handy hacks that make life easier

    New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
    KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

    KidZania: It's a small world

    The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
    Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

    'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

    The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
    From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

    Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

    From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
    Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

    Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

    A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
    The 10 best smartphone accessories

    Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

    Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

    Liverpool v Real Madrid

    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
    West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

    Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

    Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
    Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

    A new American serial killer?

    Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
    Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

    Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

    Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
    Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

    Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

    Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
    Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

    Want to change the world? Just sign here

    The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?