The earthquake that hit Japan on the 11th of March will have a considerable impact on the world economy at large, given the fact the Japan is one of leading players in the world’s technological business. Getting more specific, it is expected that communication technology companies, such as CommTech to not be able to continue its business activity for a period of time:
“We expect the earthquake to potentially have a negative near-term impact on CommTech vendors directly or through their supply chains. While supply-chain hurdles are likely to be mitigated in a short time, and network spend could rise later on, Japan’s government spending could be impaired for some time as budgets are focused on recovery,” Oppenheimer analyst Ittai Kidron says.
Not only does Japan represent about 2 or 3 percent of the demand for handsets, but Apple and Sony Ericsson have high single-digit shipping exposure to Japan as well, illustrating the vicious circle of a catastrophe and its worldwide consequences. In addition to this, Japan is also providing world markets and producers with raw materials, flexible-PCBs, passives/filters, RF, memory and other semiconductors and displays as noted by ibtimes. The Wall Street Journal informs about the impact on the mobile phone markets, and today’s price rise of 17 percent of flash memory in chip-trading markets in Asia today. Regarding the storage market, service providers such as EMC and NetApp will only witness an insignificant impact, whereas Cisco and Juniper, companies that receive between 2 and 7 percent of their revenues from Japan will have a lot to deal with.
Such unfortunate events can be seized by big companies as opportunities to demonstrate their technologies, capabilities and speed of action, as well as their interest in socially responsible behaviour. US carrier AT&T is offering until the end of this month free SMSs to Japan from a wireless US number and free wireless calls from the US and Puerto Rico to Japan for postpaid clients. This measure was later adopted by Verizon as well, announcing it would offer free calls to Japan from wireless and residential landlines, as well as free SMS. The company set up a donations campaign by which AT&T wireless customers can text “redcross” to 90999 for free to donate $10 to the Red Cross.
Speaking of donations, Microsoft announced it would offer $250,000 in cash and $1.75 million in free software and services for re-establishing communications. Google created on the same day of the earthquake an online crisis center providing users with the Person Finder tool , maps of the earthquake , latest news and practical information such as train and blackout info. Facebook does not fall behind either and reported having over 3.8 million users from the endangered zones to have updated their status in times of communication deadlock. Online game-maker Zynga and Facebook also announced a partnership with the Save the Children’s Japan Earthquake Tsunami Emergency Fund “to get users to donate money through the purchase of virtual goods in CityVille, FrontierVille, FarmVille and other games.”