Coronavirus wreaking havoc on electronics industry: Apple, Nintendo and more

(Image credit: Tomohiro Ohsumi / Getty Images)

New reports coming from Asia detail serious delays in production of parts and products due to the Wuhan Coronavirus pandemic. The latest companies to announce an impact on their production are Sharp, Sony, and Nintendo — but there are a lot more.

Industry analysts warned about this days ago, claiming that the coronavirus epidemic will affect the electronics industry’s supply line. "I can't imagine a scenario where the supply chain isn't disrupted,” said veteran analyst Patrick Moorhead nine days ago. He was right.

Nintendo and Sharp take a hit

Japanese video game giant Nintendo has made an announcement saying that the disruption to the Switch console production caused by the Coronavirus epidemic was “inevitable.” As such, shipments of the console and its accessories are being delayed. Shipment for games like “Ring Fit Adventure” — which right now is out of stock worldwide — will also be delayed.

What’s worse: Nintendo is not giving any timeframe for when these delays will be resolved. 

Display and electronics company Sharp has declared that the impact of the virus outbreak will be significant, although it’s difficult to quantify at this point. According to Gizmochina, Sharp‘s vice-president Katsumi Nomura has announced that the company is considering moving its production lines out of China completely "if the epidemic shows no sign of recovery in the near future."

Xbox Series X and PS5 could be impacted too

Industry analyst firm Jefferies warned in a statement to Business Insider that PS5 and Xbox Series X shipments could also be affected.

“If key supply chain participants in the PS5 or Xbox Series X were significantly disrupted, limited inventory for the launch window would be a bigger problem if it led to some games being delayed by a quarter,” said Jefferies. The firm argues that, “given marketing, competition, and synchronized game release all scheduled for the next console generations, this bears watching.”

A long list of affected companies

The list of affected companies keeps growing as the coronavirus spreads out of Wuhan, which already is considered one of China’s biggest manufacturing and logistics hubs. Corporations that have seen factories and suppliers shut down range from consumer electronics companies like Apple, Samsung, and LG to appliance makers like Electrolux and car manufacturers like Toyota, Jaguar, Land Rover, and even Tesla.

Sony sounding the alarm: 70% of all smartphones could be affected

Sony, which is one of the biggest producers of camera sensors in the world, is also voicing the alarm about the Coronavirus’s disruption in parts supply and manufacturing. The Japanese financial paper Nikkei says that the company has warned investors that production of image sensor and related electronics “could be affected enormously” if the virus doesn’t slow down soon. 

The disruption will have the biggest impact on smartphone sensors — which means that it will affect a large number of companies, like Apple and Huawei. Keep this in mind: according to Petapixel, Sony makes half of all image sensors and 70% of all smartphone image sensors. If the epidemic continues its rapid growth, the impact could be enormous.

Sony’s CFO Hiroki Totoki said that “depending on the future progress of the virus, we cannot deny that our production and sales supply chain for the image sensor and electronics business could be affected enormously.” He added that “at this point [Sony] cannot properly assess how we will be able to supply products and such.”

From what we know, it doesn’t seem that slow down is not coming soon. The coronavirus infection keeps growing and it’s not showing any signs of stopping, with some observers and news organizations accusing China of hiding the true magnitude of the virus epidemic. 

The official government statistics are at 24,000+ infections in mainland China and more than 560 deaths. But according to Taiwan News, software company Tencent may have accidentally leaked the true deaths and infected people figures, which would raise the toll to 154,023 infections and 24,589 deaths.

Jesus Diaz

Jesus Diaz founded the new Sploid for Gawker Media after seven years working at Gizmodo, where he helmed the lost-in-a-bar iPhone 4 story and wrote old angry man rants, among other things. He's a creative director, screenwriter, and producer at The Magic Sauce, and currently writes for Fast Company and Tom's Guide.