Light Reading

Will Optical Suffer From Thailand's Political Unrest?

Carolyn Mathas
News Analysis
Carolyn Mathas

When the government of Thailand imposes a 60-days state of emergency, grenades begin to explode, and a general election faces a possible delay due to social unrest, one expects there might be jitters within the optical components industry, which still relies on facilities in the Southeast Asia country for some of its manufacturing capacity.

It seems any concerns about delivery delays, transportation woes, and component shortages from Fabrinet, which manufactures, assembles, and tests products on behalf of companies such as Finisar Corp. (Nasdaq: FNSR) and JDSU (Nasdaq: JDSU; Toronto: JDU), are unwarranted -- at least so far. But a key Fabrinet plant sits only 30 miles from the Thai capital, so companies that rely on a smooth global optical supply chain will be keeping a close eye on events in the country.

The anti-government protest that started four months ago is now heating up. Protesters have occupied Bangkok since mid-January in an attempt to force Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to resign.

Component company representatives, fearing the effects on their own customers, would not talk on the record about the impact of the unrest. But comments from individuals who spoke with Light Reading include:

  • If you went outside of the neighborhoods where the demonstrations are taking place, you wouldn't even know there's a problem.
  • It's like Occupy Wall Street, which had little impact on those not in the financial district.
  • So far, there has been no effect on the optical component supply chain and transportation -- we don't expect there to be any.
  • Thailand has been through this before with both political strife and natural disasters. The latter were more disruptive.
  • It's really business as usual.

Political instability has plagued Thailand for the past 85 years. According to a Human Rights Watch count, the country has had "18 coups, 23 military governments, and 9 military-dominated governments" since 1932. Also, in 2010, the country was hit by its worst flooding in more than 50 years. Total economic losses in excess of $45 billion and a multi-year recovery period ensued. (See Thailand's Floods Will Affect Optical Sales and Optical Industry Adjusting After Thai Floods.)

The protests are likely to have an economic impact. Tourism and Bangkok businesses are set to feel it the most. Mazda, Nissan, and Toyota have reported drops in Bangkok showroom sales. Tourism will suffer the most. This month, 45 countries issued travel warnings, but they are solely for rally sites.

In response to the upheaval, the Finance Ministry lowered economic growth projections for 2014 to 3.1% (versus 6.4% in 2012), primarily due to lower tourism revenue.

Moody's Investors Service called the protests a "key credit-negative feature for the sovereign state" and said they will "weigh on an already fragile growth outlook for 2014." So far, though, investment activity has not suffered.

For now, there appears to be little reason for the optical sector to fret.

— Carolyn Mathas, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

(1)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
User Rank: Light Sabre
1/28/2014 | 8:44:22 AM
Double booking
Could result in double booking.
From The Founder
The comms industry is rallying to the cause of open, independent interoperability testing.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Tail-f, Cisco & What the Future Holds

10|9|15   |   8:17   |   (0) comments

Steve Saunders meets with Tail-f's Director of Technology, Carl Moberg, in Stockholm to discuss becoming part of Cisco, ETSI MANO, virtualization and the need to combine science and business in order to create opportunities for service providers.
LRTV Interviews
Broadband Forum Embraces SDN & NFV

10|9|15   |   02:42   |   (0) comments

At Gigabit Europe 2015, Robin Mersh and Kevin Foster from the Broadband Forum explain how the industry body is adapting to meet the SDN, NFV and cloud needs of the access network sector.
LRTV Interviews
Top Tips for FTTH Operators

10|8|15   |   02:26   |   (0) comments

At Gigabit Europe 2015, Ventura Team co-founder Richard Jones talks about some of the key business case considerations for FTTH network operators.
LRTV Interviews
M-net Calls for FTTx Unity

10|8|15   |   03:45   |   (0) comments

At the Gigabit Europe event, Jörn Schoof from M-net, the Munich city network operator, calls for industry collaboration on fiber broadband access rollouts.
LRTV Documentaries
The Business Case Challenge for NFV

10|7|15   |   03:47   |   (0) comments

Virtual CPE is one of the early success stories for network functions virtualization, as service providers are finding flexible, programmable CPE solves a lot of logistics problems and reduces their cost. But even here, Masergy Communications faced a business case challenge, says CTO Tim Naramore.
LRTV Interviews
JT Offers Some Gigabit Lessons

10|7|15   |   4:08   |   (1) comment

Barna Kutvolgyi, managing director, Global Consumer, at JT, the incumbent operator on the island of Jersey, talks about how other service providers can learn from his company's gigabit broadband rollout experiences.
LRTV Interviews
AT&T's Chiosi on the Potential of Open Source

10|6|15   |   06:27   |   (0) comments

AT&T Distinguished Network Architect Margaret T. Chiosi talks to Light Reading's Carol Wilson about the potential for open source technology to liberate communications service providers.
LRTV Interviews
Network Security in a Gigabit World

10|6|15   |   05:52   |   (0) comments

Masergy's James Harrison talks about some of the network security and data center issues network operators need to consider as they expand their broadband services portfolios.
LRTV Documentaries
Telefónica: In Search of Virtual Simplicity

10|5|15   |   07:30   |   (0) comments

Francisco-Javier Ramon Salguero, head of Telefónica's NFV initiative, admits virtualization initially means greater complexity, but with the right abstraction layer, it is possible to create a services-driven network architecture. He explains how Telefónica's current trials and initiatives are aimed at doing that, and what his company and other carriers need to ...
LRTV Interviews
Gigabit Europe Takeaways

10|5|15   |   03:47   |   (0) comments

Participants from the inaugural Gigabit Europe event in Munich share their key takeaways from the conference.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Intel Urges Women to Take Advantage of Their Seat at the Table

10|5|15   |   4:27   |   (1) comment

Have inclusive and constructive conversations, attach a bigger meaning to your work and get involved in the cause, Intel's Monique Hayward advises women in comms.
LRTV Interviews
BT Updates on Plans

10|2|15   |   03:16   |   (2) comments

Peter Bell, CIO at Openreach, the access network division at UK incumbent BT, provides an update on the operator's trials and how Openreach is planning to deploy the broadband technology in its street cabinets.
Upcoming Live Events
October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
November 5, 2015, Hilton Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA
November 17, 2015, Santa Clara, California
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 2, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
All Upcoming Live Events
Network appliances have a strong value proposition in today's networks and will continue to do so in the NFV and SDN-enabled networks of tomorrow.
Hot Topics
M&A Speculation Swirls Around Juniper
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 10/6/2015
Cisco's Chambers Rules Out Political Bid
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 10/6/2015
Cord Cutting? 'Fraid so.
Brett Sappington, 10/7/2015
Infinera Fleshes Out Its Metro 100G Story
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 10/7/2015
Cisco Makes 'Martian' Connection
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 10/9/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
With so many new and exciting communications technologies now under development, it's easy to get caught up in the industry's escalating hype cycle. That's why the ...
Last week saw a big day in the 15-year history of Light Reading when Editor-in-Chief Ray Le Maistre and I were invited to interview the Deputy Chairman and Rotating ...
Cats with Phones
"What?! I'm on with Finisar about their stock price tanking" Click Here