In Hindsight: Japan’s Effect on Tech World

On the 11th of March, Japan was shaken by a powerful earthquake, leading to the loss of human lives and enormous financial losses as well. From a business point of view, the regretful event will have a considerable impact on all trading nations, on prices on the stock exchange and on trading at world level.

Apple had planned to launch its new iPad2 device in Japan as well in March, after having released it on the US and some European markets. Yet, due to the Japan event, the company announced it would be wise to postpone the launch of iPad2 to a later, unspecified date, following impressive sales of the new device, almost 67% higher that its original iPad.

Initially Apple hoped to deliver the iPad2 in 1 or 2 weeks, but after the earthquake in Japan the company extended the delivery process to 3, or even 4 weeks. This is mainly because Japan represents about 2 or 3 percent of the demand for handsets and, at the same time, Apple, and Sony Ericsson have high single-digit shipping exposure to Japan. Japan is also providing world markets and manufacturers with raw materials, flexible-PCBs, passives/filters, RF, memory and other semiconductors and displays, meaning related product delays are expected to extend into the next quarter. Important companies in Japan offered updates on the status of their factories in the island; Sony announced it has suspended the activities at seven manufacturing plants; Canon has three plants seriously affected by the earthquake, though Toshiba, producer of memory chips for the Apple device among others, announced it’s resumed activity.

The disruption of communication lines will certainly affect communication technology companies, such as CommTech. The mobile phones market will be impacted upon as there were price rises of 17% for flash memory. Storage providers such as Cisco, Juniper, EMC and NetApp that receive between 2 and 7 percent of their revenues from Japan, will need to find ways of coping with possible revenue shortage and a shortened global reach.

Communities throughout the world chose to take part in relief efforts for Japan and the most recent and relevant is the SXSW party from last week, raising funds for the Red Cross efforts in Japan via Ubershare that started a campaign encompassing 120 companies participating at the SXSW event. Social responsibility is the approach Western states took; Microsoft activated its Disaster Response team and provided a disaster response page for Japanese workers in addition to donating $250,000 in cash and $1,5 million worth of software and Google created an online crisis center on the exact day of the event that impulse the circulation of news and information.

WeeWorld.com and its WeeMee Avatar Creator app decided to donate 100% of March’s proceeds to the Japan Earthquake relief, whereas Zynga teamed up with Save The Children’s Japan Earthquake Tsunami Emergency Fund and set up a strategy to  donations via social games on Facebook. But there is room for impostors as well: a spam video on the Japanese tsunami now circulating on Facebook is trying to attract people to a site earning commission for each click.

With communication lines down, social media, internet-connected mobile devices and mobile phones were the single option for disseminating information and coping with disaster. Huawei already announced its first shipment of “essential” communications equipment has reached the tsunami hit areas of Japan and that the echnical teams from Huawei are working to help repair and restore communication infrastructure. In areas of no cellular or WiFi coverage, the Easy WiFi Network for Japan is the perfect solution for getting and staying online.