How big is the impact of the Japanese earthquake on the semiconductor industry?

The auto and chip industries have also been shaken by the 7.4-magnitude earthquake that hit Tohoku On Wednesday night.

Renesas Electronics, Japan's largest auto chip maker, reported on its official website that production at three plants near the epicenter had been affected, with two plants completely shut down and one plant partially shut down. Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co. halted operations at plants in northern Japan after the quake.

If the quake disrupts supply chains, it could further disrupt already tight global production of semiconductors, mobile phones and cars, industry insiders said.

First, the earthquake affected the Japanese semiconductor industry, auto chip leading Renesas factory production

A strong earthquake struck off the east coast of Japan's Main island of Honshu at 23:36 local time (22:36 Beijing time). The Japanese Meteorological Agency revised the magnitude of the earthquake from 7.3 to 7.4 and the focal depth from 60 kilometers to 57 kilometers, which also hit the chip industry.

Renesas Electronics, Japan's largest auto chip maker, reported on its official website that production at three plants near the epicenter had been affected, with two plants completely shut down and one plant partially shut down. Renesas Electronics said production was affected at its plants in Nako (Ibaraki prefecture), Takasaki (Gunma prefecture) and Mizawa (Yamagata Prefecture) near the epicentre following the quake.

According to renesas electronic bulletin, production of the test line has partially resumed as of 8 am Tokyo time on March 17 (7 am Beijing time on March 17). In addition, the Nako and Takasaki plants suffered a brief blackout after the quake, but power has been restored and utilities are partly running again.

Renesas will conduct a safety assessment of clean rooms and investigate the safety and possible impacts of equipment and products from the morning of March 17. Renesas said it would make further announcements as more information became available and would decide whether to resume operations in the future, depending on factors such as facility conditions.

Renesas is the world's third-largest automotive chip company and the world's largest microcontroller (MCU) supplier, with a 19 percent market share, according to a Fitch ratings report last year.

According to public information, the affected naco plant is an important automotive chip production base for Renesas. Two-thirds of the semiconductor chips produced at Nako are automotive chips. The plant was shut down by a fire last year, exacerbating the global "core shortage" situation, while the 2011 Fukushima earthquake shut down renesas's semiconductor plant for three months.

It is worth noting that the east coast of Honshu island is densely populated with Japanese technology companies, which can be regarded as the major center of Japanese semiconductor industry, including Renesas Electronics, SONY, Shin-Etsu Chemical, SUMCO, Toshiba, Kaixia, etc., all have production bases here.

Second, cars, passive components are also affected, Honda, Toyota and other auto factories shutdown

Japan's chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroichi Matano warned that another strong earthquake with a magnitude of 6 or more could hit the country in the coming week, warning the public to remain vigilant, According to Jiemian News. And this earthquake, not only to semiconductor industry is a "huge earthquake", to other industries also have a major impact.

A fire broke out at a plant producing patch inductors in Toshimi, Miyagi Prefecture, and was put out at 2 am Monday, a spokesman for global passive component leader Murata said. Murata has four factories in northeastern Japan, including a battery plant in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, all shut down, but fortunately there were no casualties and damage has been confirmed.

Japanese silicon wafer makers Shin-etsu and Katsuko have shut down their factories in accordance with standard procedures, as the quake's radiation level still exceeded magnitude 4. Mitsui Chemical also suspended operations at a plant in Chiba prefecture.

Toyota's plants in Iwate and Miyagi prefectures were suspended Thursday morning, company spokesman Hiroshi Hashimoto said in an e-mailed statement. The company is deciding whether to resume production later in the day.

Toyota plans to suspend production at one of its plants for eight working days from March 22 to the end of March, resulting in a further reduction in production of about 14,000 new vehicles in March due to a chip shortage, foreign media reported. Toyota had already announced a 20 percent cut in its Japanese production target for the April-June period.

Separately, denso, an auto parts supplier, said the quake damaged some equipment at its Fukushima plant. And also in the vicinity of the epicenter capacity configuration of aluminum capacitor leading jia Art and MLCC factory sun lure electricity has not been out of the disaster.

Which of these industries is more affected? Some industry insiders said that for passive component manufacturers, unless the machinery and equipment damaged by the strong earthquake can not produce, with the experience of last year also 7.3 fukushima strong earthquake, the impact on the industry is limited, but there is no single benefit. The aluminum capacitor industry has not received the Japanese aluminum capacitor industry to suspend production news, but need to pay attention to the chip factory will be greatly affected.

Third, the earthquake caused water and power cuts in factories, may affect the global supply chain

How big is the impact of the Japanese earthquake on the semiconductor industry?

The strong earthquake in Japan could disrupt manufacturing, especially sensitive electronic components such as semiconductors made using precision machinery, kechuang Board Daily reported.

On February 13, 2021, a 7.3-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Fukushima, Japan, causing a massive power outage and disrupting the supply of auto parts in Japan, hitting the Semiconductor and auto industries in Japan. Renesas Electronics briefly stopped production, exacerbating a chip shortage in the global auto industry. In the face of supply chain disruption and the impact of the epidemic, Toyota, Honda, Nissan and other Japanese automakers have been hit by chip shortages and temporarily suspended production lines for several times.

The supply chain disruption caused by the earthquake and tsunami at that time led to a scramble for materials and other industry chaos, but also pushed up the price of various components including DRAM, NAND, MCU and so on. The quake can directly damage factories, precision equipment and chip products inventory. In the capacity of this shortage of when, harm is inevitable. And can also see the important position of Japan in the semiconductor industry chain.

In the short term, power outage and water interruption will undoubtedly cause great interference to the factory production, because the production line of the chip processing plant usually runs for 24 hours continuously, and the opening of some large equipment will take more than ten hours. Sudden power outage will disrupt the original plan and cause equipment damage.

"Whether it is an earthquake or a power failure, the chip factory is not able to produce immediately after the power is switched on. After the resumption of production, it is necessary to re-debug the temperature and data of all processes and steps of the entire production line. It is difficult to accurately estimate the time needed for debugging." "Wei Dong, an engineer at xi 'an Technological University's Microelectronics Technology Laboratory, told China Automotive News.

"Natural disasters such as snowstorms in the United States and the earthquake in Japan are hard to predict, but the industry should think more about how we will deal with problems such as chip shortages in the future in the face of challenges and practical difficulties." Shi Weiran, a researcher at the Transportation Research Center of Central South University, suggested that car companies form closer strategic alliances with chip suppliers, or even joint research and development units, in order to obtain more targeted products. Second, car enterprises can build chip enterprises in joint venture with chip manufacturers.

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