Samsung warns of worsening semiconductor shortage

Samsung Electronics has sounded the alarm about a “serious imbalance” in the semiconductor industry, the latest warning that a chip shortage disrupting automakers threatens to spill over into the wider tech sector.

The signal from the Seoul-based group – the world’s largest computer chip maker and a linchpin in the global technology supply chain – came as governments and businesses raised concerns that shortages on the semiconductor market could slow the economic recovery after the coronavirus pandemic.

“There is a serious imbalance between supply and demand for chips in the computing industry globally. . . It’s hard to say that the shortage issue has been 100% resolved, ”Koh Dong-jin, co-managing director who heads Samsung’s mobile business unit, said on Wednesday.

The supply of computer chips has been tight since automakers cut orders due to weakening sales forecasts during the height of the pandemic last year. The chip production capacity of many foundries – the factories that manufacture chips to order – was quickly reallocated to other challenging industries. booming demand.

Volkswagen and General Motors were among the automakers forced to cut production due to shortages. With the tightening of supply should not relax Until the second half of the year, some in the automotive sector have called for improvements industry forecasting capabilities.

A massive storm in Texas last month that caused widespread power outages and forced some chipmakers from offline state threatened to worsen the supply situation. Japan’s Honda Motor said on Wednesday it would halt production at most of its facilities in the United States next week due to the disruption.

Samsung also said its foundry in Austin has not restarted production.

“While we are currently making efforts to resume operations as soon as possible, the process may take longer to reach normal levels when we inspect and reconfigure the facility,” Samsung said.

Market research firm TrendForce has warned that an “industry-wide effort” to speed up production of automotive chips is at risk. slow delivery semiconductors for other consumer electronics and industrial applications.

Yet Young Liu, chairman of Foxconn, the world’s largest contract electronics maker and Apple’s main assembly partner, said it has yet to see a big impact of chip shortages on customers.

“For some customers, maybe they have rush orders, maybe they have better demand than expected, for them definitely [there is an impact]Liu said. “[But] for our main customers, they have planned well, so there is no big increase in orders and those kind of customers, they are doing well.

Industry groups representing the semiconductor and automotive manufacturing sectors this week unveiled plans to jointly develop the domestic automotive chip sector to avoid future shocks, a sign of longer-term changes in response to the shortage.

Additional reporting by Kang Buseong in Seoul and Kana Inagaki in Tokyo

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