The coronavirus outbreak is having a well-documented economic impact across the globe, as well as the obvious health issues, and it seems that Intel’s supply problems may actually be eased as a side-effect of the virus.
A report from DigiTimes details the purported effects of the virus outbreak on the tech industry and demand for PC components over in China, citing sources from the hardware supply chain.
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China’s DIY PC market was expected to enjoy a recovery in 2020, but that expectation has been reversed thanks to coronavirus. While the virus is only having a relatively minor impact right now in overall terms, demand in the component market has been ‘hit hard’ in some respects, due to consumers avoiding visiting public places like tech retail outlets and internet cafes (you may recall that Apple has already closed its Chinese stores).
The virus may not affect online orders of hardware, but shipments will be interfered with, and DigiTimes observes that they may “slip dramatically, as many cities’ logistic systems have already been suspended due to the virus”.
All of which will, in theory, mean that demand for PC components drops considerably, and therefore Intel won’t be needing to supply as many CPUs to the Chinese market. In turn, those processors will be free to be supplied elsewhere, meaning that “Intel’s CPU shortages have been greatly eased at the moment” and this “could decelerate AMD’s penetration in the PC market”, according to the sources.
Motherboards and GPUs
So, while coronavirus might relieve some of the pressure on Intel, other hardware makers are simply going to be struggling with the specter of lost sales. DigiTimes highlights falling demand for motherboards and graphics cards which will particularly hit Asus and Gigabyte, firms that ship a lot of products to China.
All of this, naturally, assumes that those supply chain sources are correct in their assumptions – but it doesn’t sound like an unlikely scenario. Other industries, like car manufacturing, are already being hit by coronavirus, as parts being shipped from China to manufacturers around the globe are affected.
Another prospect is a delay for Computex, which is held in Taiwan and should take place in June – but the organizers say the event remains on schedule, at least for now, as Anandtech reports. When the SARS outbreak hit, Computex in 2003 was shifted from June to September.
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Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).