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Mobile, electronic, and auto manufacturers face global chip shortages

Auto and electronic makers are facing a new challenge—global chip shortages, brought by the raging COVID-19 pandemic.

Global chip shortages amid COVID-19 pandemic

Qualcomm Inc.'s Cristiano Amon, head of the world's largest mobile chipmaker, said the shortages were seen "across the board".

Amon's statement was the latest from the growing number of industry leaders flagging about the shortages, worsened by the COVID-19 and the rising popularity of 5G-ready smartphones, like the iPhone 12.

Executives previously said the move of Chinese tech giant Huawei Technologies Co. to hoard components amid its trade war against the US also contributed to the shortages.

The shortages are expected to wipe out USD 61 billion of sales for the auto industry alone.

Industry sources, however, warned the electronics sector may suffer far larger losses. The virus pandemic, social distancing in factories, and soaring competition from tablets, laptops and electric cars are causing some of the toughest conditions for smartphone component supply in many years, said Neil Mawston, an analyst with Strategy Analytics.  

Apple, a major client of Qualcomm, said sales of some new high-end iPhones were affected by a shortage of components.

Japan's Sony Corp. this week said it may not meet the demand for its new gaming console in 2021 because of production issues.

Mawston said prices for key smartphone components, including chipsets and displays, have increased as much as 15 percent in the past six months.

Also, according to team GIZGUIDE's industry sources, this is one of the reasons why some mobile phone makers are releasing smartphones with a near 4-year-old chip.

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