IHS: Korean war would be catastrophic to global electronics markets

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Written by Tom Foremski, Contributor

The market research firm IHS pointed out that South Korea is vital to global electronics markets because of its dominance in producing two-thirds of all DRAMs and 70 percent of all tablet display screens.

If war breaks out, the result would be "chaos".

… with the worldwide electronics supply chain grinding to a halt and stopping major market product segments in their tracks, including smartphones, media tablets, and PCs …

"It is important for companies to understand the magnitude of South Korea's role in the global electronics market — and to prepare for any contingencies," said Mike Howard, senior principal analyst for DRAM and memory at IHS.

South Korean electronics giants Samsung and Hynix are headquartered just 30 miles from the border of North Korea. And large manufacturing operations are within 30 miles of the capital.

War would severely limit production of most electronics and computing devices.

While some gadgets could have their amount of memory reduced — a smartphone with 32 gigabytes (GB) of NAND could be downsized to 8GB, or an 8GB laptop reduced to 4GB — other devices must have the memory for which they were originally designed, especially where DRAM is involved.

"A server with only half its intended DRAM is essentially half a server — and a smartphone cannot have its DRAM quantity changed, as it needs the original amount for which it was designed," Howard noted.

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