Japan's seminconductor businesses will not restart production until earthquake aftershocks cease, potentially leading to a shortfall in the hardware, industry watcher IHS iSuppli has warned.
Aftershocks are still being felt in the region and are shutting down semiconductor fabs each time they go over five on the Richter scale. Currently, shocks are ranging between four and seven, iSuppli said.
"Earthquakes ranging from four to seven on the Richter scale will make it impossible to really restart these fabs until the earthquakes stop happening with such frequency," said Dale Ford, an analyst at IHS.
"Every time a quake tops five, the equipment automatically shuts down."
Concerns about a shortfall could lead original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to panic buy semiconductors and other equipment, the analyst added. Apparently OEMs are already increasing orders.
However, last month IHS iSuppli reported that there were very high semiconductor inventory levels and it is thought that these will be consumed and act as a cushion while manufacturing returns to normal in Japan.
The country is also experiencing rolling power outages, which in some cases are preventing maintenance work on plants and factories.
Work to fix undersea networking cables using robots is being prepared. In an interview with the BBC, a spokesman for KDDI, the country's second-largest telecoms firm, said that ships would be sent out as soon as the tremors settle.
IHS iSuppli has also warned of potential delays in the rollout of the newly announced Apple iPad 2, as production of some parts including NAND memory is likely to be affected.
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