An earthquake which hit Taiwan yesterday has forced two major LCD panel manufacturers to shut down their production lines temporarily - potentially restricting the supply of screens to OEMs.

As reported over on VentureBeat, the 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit an area near the southern city of Kaohsuing, causing five fires and twelve injuries - mostly contained in the southern part of Taiwan. Thankfully, there are no reports of any deaths.

However, the earthquake was powerful enough to cause buildings to shake in Taipei - and to make Chi Mei Optoelectroics and HannStar Display Corporation suspend manufacturing in their Tainan Science Park plants pending a full damage report and any aftershocks that could further damage their facilities.

The two companies are believed to be responsible for the manufacture of over 16 percent of LCD panels worldwide according to industry watcher iSuppli - and with a shutdown typically taking at least a full day to reverse even without any damage being caused, that's a big chunk of panels out of circulation. With larger OEMs often relying on rapid procurement of parts, this could potentially lead to a shortage of panels in the near future - and the delay or unavailability of certain product lines.

Thankfully, with the worst of the earthquake contained to a largely uninhabited mountain region, it shouldn't be too long before Taiwan - and its manufacturing facilities - get back on their feet.

Are you amazed that a 6.4 magnitude earthquake could result in so little damage, or are you concerned about the knock-on effects an LCD panel shortage could have on prices? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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