Chip shortage: fridges, microwaves next victims

Fridges and microwave ovens could be the next victims of the global chip shortage.

That's according to one of the world's largest appliance makers.

Whirlpool Corp said Monday (March 29) that it's falling behind on exports to Europe and the U.S. from China.

Talking to Reuters at an industry event in Shanghai, the company's president for China said Whirlpool faced a 'perfect storm'.

It's been unable to get enough of the microcontrollers that sit at the heart of devices like fridges.

The shortage began to bite in December, as locked-down consumers snapped up laptops and other gadgets.

Chipmakers have since prioritized clients like smartphone makers, who buy more expensive silicon.

Car firms were the first victims, forced to wait in line for the relatively low-end chips they need.

On Monday, Hyundai Motor said it would suspend output at one plant due to a lack of semiconductors.

Last week Honda and General Motors both had to extend existing production cuts.

Now it seems appliances are next to suffer, and it's not just Whirlpool.

One Chinese maker told Reuters on Monday that it too had suffered delays due to the shortage.

Another said the silicon drought had forced it to test alternative chips, to see if they could replace its usual parts.