The ravaging floods in Thailand, last year really took its toll, after it resulted heavily in the loss of innumerable lives and property. Businesses in Thailand, too were hit and forced shut, for a while after the floods. Most affected businesses, as far as the IT industry goes, were that of the hard drive manufacturers. Digitimes has a news story about the situation improving in this quarter of the year, itself. The floods, reportedly hit Toshiba and Western Digital the most, while Hitachi and Seagate were able to escape with minor issues and production slowdown. Still, the reduced supply and constantly increasing demands have been causing prices of hard drives to shoot up over the end of last year. This in turn has affected the prices of desktop PCs and notebooks and manufacturers are even blaming the Thailand floods for lower profits and sales. The smartphone and tablet market on the other hand is blooming.
Things may go back to normal in a few months
It now appears that things are likely to return to normal, well, almost normal, within the next month or two. The production of hard drives should rise up to around 140 to 150 million drives, which is close to being 80 percent of the output performance, before the floods hit. All the spare stocks that the manufacturers had were depleted at the end of 2011, sources told Digitimes. The hard drive industry was able to put out some 120-125 million drives by the third quarter of 2011, due to the flooding. This situation has improved slightly and things should be completely back to normal by around the middle of the year.
Don’t expect to see prices back to normal, once that happens, though. Component prices have risen, ever since the floods, so prices can be some 30 to 40 percent higher, than they were before the floods hit. Current prices of drives are close to double of what they were before the floods. A lot depends on the prices of hard drives, though. For example, major PC manufacturers are gearing up new lines of notebooks, called Ultrabooks that are expected to take off in a big way this year. Ultrabooks are going to be affordable, thin, lightweight notebooks that offer similar performance to mainstream notebooks.
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