@Geetree: thank you, we often miss the human element in this 'supply chain-centered' discussion.
Several comments above provoke thoughts to ponder about, like what are the G7 & G20 economies doing to alleviate Japan's woes and the world economy affected by it.
Of the 8 causes that may wreck the world economy today, one was Japan's earthquake & tsumani while one other was the end of quantitative easing by the US Gov. I wonder what Japan's current situation will mean to the latter...
@amg: the 50/60 Hz divide has existed since the 19th century. In Tokyo they bought a generator from AEG in 1895 and one year later Osaka got one from GE. Don't create greed stories about TEPCO. The 50Hz was first.
Let's see... 60% of the world's supply of silicon wafers comes from Japan. You can't grow silicon boules without stable power. Ergo... there will be a wave of short supply to fabs as soon as safety stocks are consumed.
I would imagine that the providers of the other 40% of the world's wafer supply will be scrambling to win market share. How well they scramble will affect how this tragedy impacts the electronics industry, over the next 12 months.
And while I'm at it -- I wouldn't be overly smug about how robust our infrastructure is. I've been through two major blackouts in my career, and they weren't caused by a major natural disaster.
TEPCO’s greed is the basis of the rolling blackout.
Japan has always boasted of having more than adequate electric generation capacity.
Japan is rated third in the world in electrical generation capacity behind only the U.S. and China.
So, why the rolling blackouts that are preventing the semiconductor fabs from restarting??
After the Second World War, during the rebuilding of the country infrastructure, there was some competition within the utility industry.
A number of independent power companies were formed with independent power grids. TEPCO, Tokyo Electric Power Co. supplies Tokyo and the disaster-struck region of Fukushima. TEPCO was built around a standardized 50Hz supply. The other power companies were built around a standardized 60Hz supply and can be easily interconnected on the grid. I believe this situation was intentionally perpetuated by TEPCO to give them exclusive market share of the highest demand residential market, the Tokyo metro area. The earthquake and subsequent tsunami have removed almost 10 gigawatts of TEPCO’s capacity.
Connecting the 50 and 60 Hertz grids is possible, but it requires frequency conversion facilities. Three such facilities exist with a total capacity of only 1 gigawatt.
It is GREED that has and will delay the rebuilding of the earthquake and tsunami ravaged eastern Japan.
Too bad this is all about the supply chain and not the Japanese people. I believe they will recover, rebuild and even come back stronger, and do so quickly. There will be a memory of the pain and loss, and those who helped...Who in the G20 are true partners? watch...
Mr. Hutcheson apparently has never been around an earthquake and doesn't own a TV. But now he got a quote published!
I'm guessing nearly every buyer of semiconductors has spent a goodly amount of time the last week verifying its inventory and trying to ascertain whether their products are built. I know a number of semiconductor vendors are scrambling to sort things out.
@dnenni & @president: valid points. Note that TEL is one of the companies that is also a player in the backend (I have used their 12-in wafer probers). So the impact is indeed considerable. Power is indeed going to be a serious issue -just watch the oil futures, Japan has to start buying and take deliveries of crude well before their reserves run out.
All that we have so far are a few pundits pontificating and the rest of us getting amused by it! Every one is entitled to their opinions! I will just wait to connect the dots!