[photopress:zones_ChengduMap.jpg,full,alignright]The earthquake in China was a great human tragedy. Everything else connected with it is, in comparison, of minor importance. It is the people who suffered.
The epicenter of the quake was in Wenchuan, about 55 miles northwest of Chengdu.
Chengdu is China’s fifth largest city and has, over the last 20 years, established a high-tech industrial development zone where companies such as IBM, Symantec, Microsoft, Intel, Fujitsu, Corning, Ericsson, Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. (SMIC), Nokia and Monolithic Power Systems, among others, have established operations.
The earthquake disrupted power and cut cell phone communications throughout the region. Although not a major region for semiconductor production, Intel and Monolithic Power Systems have significant microchip manufacturing and testing facilities there.
Intel had to stop production at its factory located 55 miles southeast of the epicenter because of a lack of electricity and water. An Intel spokesman said the factory was not damaged and its 2000 employees were not injured, but the facility was operating critical systems only on backup power. The company said it didn’t expect there to be any major supply disruptions because of the earthquake.
Monolithic Power Systems, a fabless manufacturer of analog and mixed-signal semiconductors, said in a statement that there was no immediate damage to its Chengdu facility.
According to its Web site, SMIC has an assembly and testing facility in Chengdu in addition to semiconductor fabs in Shanghai, Beijing and Tianjin. SMIC evacuated a fabrication plant and halted production as a result of the quake. It is back in production.
Freescale Semiconductor shut down its design center in Chengdu. It has now reopened.
Other companies, including Microsoft and Motorola, reported minor damage to facilities, according to the Associated Press, and financial analysts said the damage is likely to have only a limited impact on major microchip production there.