If you’ve been following computer- and electronic-related news, you’ll know that the recent natural disasters in Southeast Asia damaged both human life and community, and industry and production. Since late 2011, these devastating floods led to a near worldwide shortage in hard disk-drives, as approximately 25% of the world’s hard drive factories are located in Thailand. Only now it appears that the hard drive industry is in near complete recovery.
Western Digital factory flooded in Thailand.
Update on Hard Drive Producers
As of February 2012, analyst Fang Zhang reported Seagate as taking the first place position in the hard drive market. Seagate surpassed its main competition, Western Digital, all because their Thailand factories were on higher ground during the flooding. In December 2011, both companies sold less than half the amount of hard drives they sold in preflood times, with Seagate selling about double the amount Western Digital did.
In late April 2012, the Associated Report compiled a timeline of the status of hard drive production. They reported that as of April 26th, Seagate, Intel, and Western Digital have all made complete recoveries from the floods and are now back in full production.
Western Digital factory after the floods receded.
Update of Hard Drive Prices
While it is currently difficult to figure out the exact average range of hard drive pricing, we can still see some trends.
For one, IHS projects that pre-flood pricing is not expected to return anytime soon. In general, hard drive prices have risen to “stratospheric” levels, some doubling, even tripling in price. Besides the obvious lack of supply, another reason for this spike in hard drive prices is that the floods caused the hard drive industry to hit the “collective reset button.” Biztech staff says, “Hard drive vendors are taking advantage of this opportunity to reset prices and recover some of the excessive price erosion that began in 2009.”
A second projected trend may be the fall of hard drive prices. This is due to the industry’s reallocation of funds into newer technology, which will make hard drives more and more obsolete. Continuing with the flood’s metaphorical “reset” of priorities within the hard drive industry, Biztech says, “industry participants [may] slowly reduce hard drive prices from current levels…while at the same time ensuring sufficient funding is available to develop new HDD technologies that are needed.” The funds are projected to be reallocated into solid-state drives (SSDs), thus lowering the cost of hard drives.
I end in a similar vein as Rik Myslewski at the Reporter. Yes, while prices are not back to normal, production should be back in full swing very soon.
“If only that return were as quick and painless for those millions of Thais affected by the murderous floods.”
With the normalcy of hard drive production returning, Eio will have hard drives back in stock very soon.