After the automobile, household appliances are disrupted by shortages of electronic components. This is what explains the leader of Whirpool in China. The US group, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of household appliances, has seen its exports of products from China to Europe or the United States drop in some months by as much as 25%, Jason Ai told Reuters. “On the one hand, we have to meet the domestic demand for devices, on the other hand, we are facing an explosion in export orders. As for chips, for those of us who are in China it was inevitable, ”he said at the Appliance and World Electronics Expo in Shanghai.
Lack of microcontrollers
The company has struggled to source enough microcontrollers, simple processors that power more than half of its products, including microwaves, refrigerators and washing machines.
Hangzhou Robam Appliances Co Ltd, a Chinese home appliance maker with more than 26,000 employees, had to delay the release of a new high-end extractor hood for four months because it could not source enough microcontrollers.
“Most of our products are already optimized for use in a smart home, which is why, of course, we need a lot of chips,” said Dan Ye, Marketing Director at Robam. He added that the company has found it easier to source chips from China than overseas, prompting it to re-evaluate its future sourcing.
The chip shortage, which actually started at the end of December, was caused in part by flawed estimates by automakers and the explosion in sales of smartphones and laptops, fueled by the pandemic. It has forced automakers, including General Motors, to cut production, and increased costs for smartphone makers such as Xiaomi Corp.
With Reuters (Josh Horwitz and the Shanghai editorial staff, French version Anait Miridzhanian, edited by Blandine Hénault)