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Earthquake in Taiwan may cause LCD shortages

Microscope contributor

Availability of large sized LCD panels could be constrained after an earthquake in Taiwan forced the suspension of production at a major business park. 


Not all facilities at the Tainan Science Park have closed following the quake, which measured 6.4 on the Richter scale, but analysts iSuppli said those known to be impacted accounted for 16.4% of global shipments in January.


Firms that have temporarily halted LCD panel manufacturing include HP and Dell supplier Chi Mei Optoelectronics (CMO) and HannStar but it is unclear if AU Optronics, part of contract manufacturer Quanta has been hit.


"The Taiwan earthquake could have a strong impact globally on large-sized LCD panel supply, depending on how quickly production is resumed at the Taiwan facilities," said Sweta Dash, senior director of LCD research at iSuppli.


It typically takes 12 to 24 hours before production can be restarted, she said. "However, if there is damage to the equipment, the shutdown will last for a longer period of time."


iSuppli warned a prolonged disruption to production could result in shortages of large panel LCDs but it reasoned that at this stage of the year, supply typically exceeds demand and inventories in retail channels are increasing.


Martin Kent, UK and northern Europe territory manager at Hannspree, the finished good brand for Hannstar, said it may face issues with panel supply on 19" wide and 22" LCDs, saying: "We are trying to get to the bottom of how much impact there will be."


In a statement issued, CMO said it was "affected slightly" by the earthquake which caused the production line to shut down "temporarily" but added that normal play had resumed.


Meanwhile, the BBC reported that the quake caused no deaths, although there were some injuries from falling objects.

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