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Asean Affairs 17 October 2011
Floods may hit hard-drive industry
By David Swartzentruber
AseanAffairs 17 October 2011
Thailand supplies 60 percent of the world’s hard-disk drives (HDD) with four of the leading manufacturers based in Thailand.
Last week Western Digital that supplies one-third of the world’s supply of HDDs suspended operations at its two plants.
Seagate and Hitachi are still operating plants but Hitachi executives will arrive this week in Thailand to review the situation.
The Thai situation is similar to the disruption of industries in Japan earlier this year because of the earthquake-tsunami-nuclear disaster.
The production disruption in Thailand may benefit surrounding countries as many of the firms have plants in countries such as Malaysia.
Gartner, the international IT research firm, forecasts that supply disruptions caused by the Thai floods will trim HDD shipments worldwide by at least 10 million units from the previous fourth-quarter target of 180 million. The full-year estimate had been 683 million units.
Local media have suggested that many of the present industrial parks were sited in low-lying areas unsuitable for any kind of development.
In the coming months, the new Thai government will be challenged to develop a master plan to control the floods that affect some part of Thailand during the monsoon season.
This may be a difficult task as prevailing climate theory holds that as the ocean warms there is more water vapor in the atmosphere, thus creating larger and larger amounts of rainfall.