Fears of a supply crisis surfaced earlier this month after a blaze ripped through a plant belonging to Korea’s second largest battery manufacturer, LG Chem. The Seoul-based factory, LG Chem’s largest, churns out about 13.5 million cells each month.
Local notebook builders claim they are already seeing a hike in battery prices as rival manufacturers exploit the shortage.
Nick Boardman, managing director of system builder Rock, said: “The fire has had a knock-on effect on supply and prices have started to go up. This does not make a big difference to us because we are not a volume player, but I imagine some of the catalogue players will be affected.”
Boardman added he expected the shortage to adversely affect prices for several months.
Meanwhile, UK partners of Asustek one of LG Chem’s key customers claim the fire has exacerbated supply issues surrounding the vendor’s new £200 Eee PC.
Warren Hudson, commercial director at Asustek distributor Interface Solutions, said: “The shortage of Eee PCs has been frustrating. Demand for them has been incredible and has exceeded expectations, which has made the situation worse. Asus has done a reasonable job of managing expectations, but we are seeing no light at the end of the tunnel.”
A representative for education VAR
Machines, said: “[The fire] has caused some big issues with the supply of
some smaller-form factors, such as the Asus Eee PC, but we have not seen pricing
“My understanding is that the original design manufacturers are approving alternative suppliers of batteries, so things will be back to normal in two or three months.”
Asustek, Korea’s number two PC manufacturer, last week told Reuters the
shortage could affect up to 40
per cent of its second-quarter shipments.
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