The massive earthquake that devastated parts of China's Sichuan region on Monday halted activities at several high-tech manufacturing facilities in the area although reports indicate that the damages were limited and production should soon resume.
Technology companies affected in the region include Microsoft Corp., Motorola Inc., Semiconductor Manufacturing International and Intel Corp., the world's biggest semiconductor supplier, which has a test and assembly plant in Chengdu, one of the areas affected by the earthquake.
Analysts speculate that production at the affected Intel plant should restart relatively shortly and possibly within the next week or so.
"Intel may take a few days to a week to resume production, lower than some initial expectations of around 2 weeks of disruption," said Tim Luke, an analyst with Lehman Brothers Inc., in a research report.
"The equipment in the facilities in China have earthquake protection mechanism installed, which stops production to limit damage when there is a earthquake," he added.
Luke speculated that Intel could divert work done at the Chengdu factory to other sites in Malaysia, the Philippines or Costa Rica although he noted that rivals Advanced Micro Devices Inc. and Nvidia Corp. could benefit from a longer work stoppage at the China plant.
A spokesperson for Intel was not immediately available but initial report from the company confirmed that no employee at the Chengdu site was injured during the earthquake.
Intel has about 2000 workers at the site and they were immediately evacuated following the natural disaster, which Chinese officials estimate has so far displaced hundreds of thousands and resulted in more than 13,000 casualties.
Other technology companies with facilities in China affected by the earthquake include Motorola Inc., which has one office and approximately 400 employees in the region, according to a spokeswoman in an e-mailed response.
The company reported two of its employees were slightly injured during the earthquake but said it doesn't "anticipate an impact on our business at this time." The Motorola Chengdu facility had "minor damage," the company said.
Motorola said it donated about RMB 2 million, or approximately $286,168, in cash, communications equipment and services to Sichuan province, according to the spokeswoman.
"Motorola will continue to work with local government organizations and customers to determine the donation and support requirements for the next stage," she said.
Recent news reports indicate Microsoft was also affected by the earthquake although the company has not commented. Microsoft operates research facilities in China, according to the company's last annual filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.