Looming component shortages could impact UK channel

Asian manufacturers warn that supply levels are 20 per cent short of demand
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A number of manufacturers and industry watchers have warned that prices for components may rise due to a shortage of chip resistors, and increased competition for certain components and manufacturing fuelled by new tablet PCs.

Taiwanese chip makers Ta-I Technology, Yageo and Ralec Electronic have revealed that supply is currently around 20 per cent short of demand, while original design manufacturer Inventec has warned that tablets like the HP Slate could have an impact on netbook prices as the device uses many of the same components.

“I would certainly agree that there’s potential for a component overlap,” commented GfK’s account manager for IT, Sian Rogers. “While we have seen a rise in prices for netbooks, I’d say that this is chiefly down to increasing screen sizes. It will be hard to say for sure until tablets hit the market.” IDC research manager Eszter Morvay notes that although prices on individual components may rise, the likelihood is that the additional cost will be soaked up by vendors, as they cannot afford to raise prices on products like netbooks.

“With such an entry-level category, it would be unthinkable for vendors to raise their prices,” Morvay told PCR. “Vendors routinely use the retail price point as a strategic method of competing with their rivals. The first supplier to increase its netbook prices will be pricing itself out of the market.”

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