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Sichuan Airlines suspended flights cause components uncertainty for smartphones

Smartphone brands such as Oppo, Xiaomi and several handset contract manufacturers are exploring alternate options of air cargo carriers to import components after China’s Sichuan Airlines suspended all shipments to India.

The state-run airline, on Monday, suspended all cargo flights on six routes to India for 15 days, citing the risk of rising Coronavirus cases in the country.

“This might lead to component prices shooting up in the near term if other airlines replicate similar restrictions. This clubbed with already short in supply chipsets will add further mounting pressure on production in India,” said Upasana Joshi, associate research manager-client devices, at research firm IDC India.

Despite a global component shortage and increased Covid infection risk in India, manufacturers are putting their best efforts to keep India manufacturing operations up and running.

Smartphone companies are being forced to increase prices by 10-15%, because a depreciating rupee and shortage of key phone parts continue to jack up the total bill of materials (BOM) for handset brands.

Cost of display panels has almost doubled in the global market, memory chipsets are seeing a 20% increase in cost, battery packs prices have risen by 10% and others, including camera modules and sensors, are also dearer by 5%.

Any kind of logistics hurdles will further add to this pressure and manufacturers may even decide to cut down production because consumer demand is anyway waning amid lockdown, say experts.

The ban may hit Vivo the hardest as the brand is already facing an embargo by seven airlines, including global and local ones, after one its consignment caught fire at Hong Kong airport this month. The Vocal Ink

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