Out in Front

Surging COVID-19 infections in Taiwan and Malaysia could further constraint notebook component supply

Aaron Lee, Taipei; Joseph Tsai, DIGITIMES Asia 0

With Asia Pacific countries such as Taiwan and Malaysia witnessing COVID-19 infections surging, sources from the upstream supply chain believe shortages of notebook components could worsen.

Since Taiwan and Malaysia are both hubs for semiconductor manufacturing, the intensifying pandemic in the two countries could impact their chip supply, said the sources, adding that the extent of impact remains to be seen.

Power management, audio codec and panel driver ICs are still having the worst shortages at the moment, while notebook panel supply has continued to be tight despite the fact that overall large-size panel shipments have started to stabilize, the sources noted.

The sources pointed out that notebook supply is still short of demand by around 30-40% in the second quarter, not far off from the levels of shortage seen in the previous quarters.

Wistron shipped a total of 1.8 million notebooks in May, slipping 10% from a month ago, while its server and monitor shipments both remained at about the same level as in April at 200,000 units and 1.2 million units, respectively. Wistrion shipped 800,000 desktops in May, up 9.67% on month.

Wistron expects its June notebook shipments to grow from May with second-quarter volumes having a chance of seeing a double-digit growth sequentially.

Despite the component shortages, Wistron is still optimistic about its third-quarter shipments achieving a sequential growth, but is unable to estimate the size of the growth. Inventec also expects increasing notebook orders for the third quarter, but the actual shipments for the quarter will depend on the component supply.

Inventec shipped 1.6 million notebooks in May, flat from a quarter ago with supply currently short of demand by around 30-40%. The company's server business has also been affected by shortages of components including AMD's CPUs and some ICs. Inventec originally expected its third-quarter server shipment to witness a double-digit sequential growth, but has now cut the forecast to an increase of only 5-9%.

Wistron and Inventec both have plants in Malaysia for producing consumer electronics and IoT products. Because of lockdowns in the country, their related shipments have been impacted recently.