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Asia-Pacific flourishing despite SARS outbreak

Posted: 29 Apr 2003 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:gartner? electronics industry? sars? semiconductor?

The outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) has so far had little impact on the electronics industry in the Asia-Pacific region, an industry survey found.

Market researcher Gartner surveyed 20 major semiconductor companies in Hong Kong and China and found that most vendors had so far seen no significant negative effects from SARS.

But 40 percent of respondents said they expect to see the outbreak hurting their businesses from Q2, and some expect their businesses will decline by as much as 20 percent.

"The one possible disruption to the industry could be from mass infections on the vendor side, which has not been seen yet," said Dorothy Lai, Gartner's principal semiconductor analyst in Hong Kong. "Because this outbreak mostly affects people's personal interaction, electronics trade shows or company meetings will be deferred, potentially hurting some local buyers and sellers in the short term. Semiconductor shipments have not been delayed because of the disease so the long-term impact to the industry will probably be minimal."

Consumer PC and mobile phone demand may also slow down in Hong Kong and China," Lai added. Gartner said most respondents in Hong Kong plan to lower their sales forecast if the outbreak continues to spread. But Taiwanese contract electronic manufacturers have maintained their orders, relieving customers' fears of a disruption in the supply-chain.

So far, the war in Iraq has probably had more of an impact on the regional industry than SARS, Gartner said, adding that companies like Acer have seen a sharp decline in orders of as much as 20 percent after the war broke out.

"This outbreak probably will not completely go away within the next few months. If face-to-face interactions are not allowed, vendors and customers must communicate more through other means such as teleconferencing or videoconferencing," Lai said.

Gartner said OEMs may have to purchase excess inventory to ensure supply during the outbreak.

SARS is expected to force many semiconductor vendors and OEMs to streamline and automate their business processes, perhaps leaving them in a stronger position than before the outbreak.

- K.C. Krishnadas

EE Times

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