It is safe to say that most people in the world are worried about the 8.9 magnitude tragedy that hit Japan last night and the oceanic impact it had on the Pacific. Tech industry investors and analysts are adding another worry to their list due to the earthquake. The devastation caused by the quake not only affected Japan, but it affected the largest semiconductor, consumer electronics and technology manufacturers in the world. Sony had to shut down six production plants. Honda, Nissan, Toyota, and Subaru have closed a combined 14 plants. Nikon had one of its main SLR factories in Sendai, one of the cities leveled by the Tsunami. Pentax is currently investigating. Canon and Panasonic were affected. I won’t continue as you can clearly see the extent of the damage.
Many major tech companies such as Apple or Dell get parts for products directly from these Japanese suppliers, in particular imaging devices and storage devices. The list of sectors that are affected by the destruction is not limited to just Japan. Video games, cameras, mobile devices, household electronics, computers, Blu-Rays, hard drives, semiconductors, batteries, televisions, and more are all likely to be impacted by this. For those who have a monetary stake in manufacturing deadlines, this can mean the loss of millions, if not billions, due to delays. Unfortunately there is not much anyone can do at this moment except to sit uneasily in their seats and wait. The extent of the damage is unknown therefore the extent of the ripple effect through almost every tech-related industry in the world is also unknown. It will take a few days for all major corporations to assess any damage they sustained. Hopefully one of the quake’s aftershocks won’t be one that will be felt throughout the industry. For now, The Noisecast has its thoughts and prayers with the people of Japan, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific.