Nintendo Switch production has reportedly expanded into Malaysia in a factory owned by Sharp Corp., helping to combat any potential future problems with shortages of the hybrid handheld console.
2020 has been both a good and bad year for the Nintendo Switch. It was good in the sense that Nintendo's newest console has had phenomenal sales throughout the year. The bad side of this equation, however, is that these phenomenal sales have also translated to shortages around the world.
Part of the problem has been due to the pandemic, namely the fact that one of the major factories producing the console was located in China. A Vietnamese factory helped reduce the severity of the shortages throughout the pandemic, but there were still problems getting consoles into customers' hands.
These issues first emerged at the start of the year when Nintendo Switch shipments were delayed as the coronavirus began to emerge as a threat throughout the world. Nintendo later warned customers that shortages of the console should be expected; this was later emphasized by an independent report detailing production problems with the console at the start of 2020. That will likely be less of a problem in the future with the addition of new operations in Malaysia.
Nintendo Switch Production Diversified Amongst China Trade War Concerns
As Bloomberg reports, one of the advantages of this new factory is that it's not in China. Pandemic concerns aside, the Trump administration has pursued an aggressive trade strategy against China, potentially impacting the operations of foreign companies in that country.
The addition of a new Malaysian factory also protects Nintendo Switch production against any future disasters. The consequences of having all of a product's in one place was most evident back in 2011 when flooding in Thailand resulted in severe shortages for hard drives, ultimately inflating prices for drives already on the market and causing delays in the delivery of new stock.
Despite these shortages, the Nintendo Switch has had a record-breaking year, helped along by the phenomenal success of Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Unfortunately, this success also brought some downsides with botters grabbing up consoles as soon as they could to scalp them for a profit — something that shouldn't be a surprise for the console as it's had unprecedented demand during the 2020 pandemic.
Production at the Malaysian factory is not yet at full capacity. That said, the first wave of units produced at this factory should be arriving on store shelves soon, potentially in advance of the holiday season. This may mean that customers will get a good chance to snag a Nintendo Switch console at their local retailer if they've missed out on purchasing one thus far in the year.
This latest report demonstrates Nintendo's continuing commitment to diversifying its supply chain. This isn't the first time Sharp Corp. has worked with Nintendo, either — it helped produce the Famicom (the Japanese version of the NES) and some parts for the 3DS in the past.
Do you think more companies should spread their factories out around the world? Were you able to buy a Nintendo Switch if you've wanted one this year or has it been sold out for you? Let us know in the comments below!