Several stories have lately surfaced regarding the effects of China’s extended pandemic lockdowns on the computer industry. The DigiTimes pieces on this topic, which appeared on both sides of the weekend, appear to show that the laptop business is particularly stressed in April. Laptop manufacturers, according to industry insiders, are concerned about their operations as well as the wide range of components they rely on throughout production. A quick and abrupt drop in the Chromebook market, on the other hand, could help them make the most of procuring supplies.
The crisis in Kunshan, China, was all over the news three weeks ago, as a fresh wave of epidemic control measures in China is affecting laptop production. Compal, Pegatron, and Wistron all have production plants in Kunshan, making it a particularly important location for the laptop sector. According to reports from Shanghai, assembly processes at ODMs Quanta Computer and Inventec have been affected since the city’s lockdown began on March 28.
There has been no reprieve in China’s major computer manufacturing centres, according to the latest news. Lockdowns have been prolonged and are still in place. If a factory is fortunate enough to be outside of one of these lockdown or quarantine zones, it may be able to operate regularly. To keep the production lines running, some businesses in or near the affected areas have developed “closed-loop” staff practices.
Supplies are a major concern for computer and component manufacturers that are still in business. A source told me that supply hasn’t been as consistent as usual and that the nature of some of the chemicals means you can’t stockpile for more than a few days. Career Technology and Unimicron Technology, two major PCB manufacturers, ceased operations on April 21 and have not reopened since.
PCB shortage isn’t the only thing worrying Laptop Manufacturers
Laptops will normally be made up of over 1,000 sub-components, and the threat to PCB supplies isn’t the only thing that has them worried. Other important laptop components scarcity threats are highlighted in a separate analysis.
Aside from plant operations, China’s lockdown policy has an impact on supply chain transportation. Long screening processes are required for trucks transporting products and parts between locations to guarantee that the driver and cargo do not spread the virus.
The entire process of producing computers is complicated, and different brands, models, and locations may be affected by shortages of various specific components.
Readers may be relieved to learn that there is some relief on the supply side of the laptop business. According to today’s DigiTimes, Chromebook demand from educators has dropped dramatically. Furthermore, the war between Russia and Ukraine has impacted laptop demand in that specific region of the world. Finally, rising inflation and rapidly rising energy costs have taken a huge bite out of many people’s disposable earnings, pushing computers down the list of household expenditures.
Due to the aforementioned demand-reducing forces, big-brand laptop orders have dropped 10% so far in 2022. Things are expected to slow further through the summer, but industry sources are optimistic that a customary holiday season demand surge will occur in 2023, and that business conditions and cycles will return to pre-pandemic levels.