Thai floods could sink component chain

Don Sambandaraksa
12 Oct 2011

The flooding in Thailand will have wide ranging repercussions for high tech components, especially the hard drive industry as well as mobile phones. The damage will become clearer in the following weeks once the complex and often secretive supply chains become evident as the waters recede and the final toll is counted.

On Tuesday morning, the flood defenses of Thailand’s largest technology industrial estate, Bangpa-in Hi-tech Industrial Park were breached and over a hundred thousand migrant workers are now being evacuated.

Earlier, news reports focused on the Rojana (heavy industry) industrial park with pictures of almost 700 brand new Honda cars with only their roofs above water shocking everyone. Water is between 5-7 metres high in some places. Already Sony has put off launching its A65 and A77 cameras due to supply chain issues – many Sony lenses are made in Thailand and, presumably, the cameras too.

Bangpa-In is home to Western Digital who make most of their hard drives there, as well as Canon, DKSH, Hana and, for the telecommunications sector, most worryingly a small rather secretive company called Stars Microelectronics.

Stars is a specialist in capacitative screens and surfaces, supplying finished touch screen assemblies to the leading handset makers in Taiwan and Korea and even white capacitative clickwheels used in a certain company’s MP3 player. Many high end touchpads for notebooks are also assembled there and more recently have also expanded into toughened glass capacitative screens.

Stars had requested that their clients not be named but suffice it to say that most of the high end capacitative phone surfaces apart from that of the iPhone are finished in Thailand.

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