japan quake map

Earthquakes and a tsunami hit the northeastern part of Japan late last week (Source:www.japanquakemap.com)

The German electronics industry association warned Wednesday that a major Japanese earthquake, a devastating tsunami and the ensuing nuclear-power station malfunctions could lead to problems for the global electronics industry.

The industry association, the ZVEI, said Japanese electronics components play a key role in the global value chain. “More than one-sixth of the world supply is produced in Japan,” the association said. “If production is halted for a longer time there will be worldwide supply bottlenecks that will have an impact on a wide range of electronics products.”

The ZVEI said Japan produces about 10 pc of all electrical and electronics products worldwide and is the third-largest producer after China and the US. The Japanese market for electrical products is worth about 250 billion euros a year.

German electronics companies export about 2.5 billion euros worth of products to Japan, while 8 billion euros worth are imported. That equals 6 pc of all German electrical and electronics imports.

Worries were also expressed in other countries with industries dependent on Japanese exports.In The Philippines, the importantsemiconductor industry association said Japanese supply shortages could hit exports of products made in the Philippines.

"A prolonged abnormalcy in Japan will certainly affect the material supplies in the Philippine electronics industry," Ernie Santiago, president of the country's Semiconductor and Electronics Industries Association, said in a statement.

Some of the concerns were echoed in remarks made by top auto industry executives.

Herbert Diess, board member in charge of purchasing at German premium car maker BMW, said earlier this week that, given the time it takes to transport components by sea, many shipments from Japan are already en route, so there won’t be any shortages in the next few weeks.

Diess said, however, that the situation may be different with the company’s Tier 2 and Tier 3 suppliers of semiconductor components for control systems. “We’re now checking with our Tier 1 suppliers,” Diess said at BMW’s annual earnings press conference Tuesday.

He added that BMW will know exactly which components may be affected in about 10 days, but he said he expected that these would be relatively few.