Unnamed industry sources said on Friday that motherboard manufacturers including Gigabyte are expected to raise their prices around 10-percent by the end of 1Q12. This increase is reportedly due to labor costs in China and an increase in the international price of copper. But Gigabyte refutes the claim, saying it has no plans to raise motherboard prices any time soon.
According to the sources, the minimum monthly wage in Beijing has increased 8.62-percent, moving up from CNY1,160 ($184 USD) to CNY1,260 on January 1, 2012. Shanghai also has pay raises in the works, adding 14.28-percent more in workers' pockets by raising their wage from CNY1,120 to CNY1,280 on April 1. Shenzhen has already raised its monthly wages 13.63-percent, increasing monthly worker income from CNY1,320 to CNY1,500 on February 1.
On the copper front, pricing has risen from less than $8,000 USD per metric ton before the 2012 Lunar New Year to $8,600 USD per metric ton. This is causing spikes in the cost of copper-clad laminates which in turn raise the production cost of motherboards.
Despite all this, Tim Handley, Gigabyte's Deputy Director of Motherboard Marketing, said that the company has no plans to raise its motherboard prices in the first half of 2012.
"We plan to go to market with future socket LGA 1155 models at the same price levels as our existing 6 series motherboards," he told Tom's Friday morning. "We are very encouraged and excited with the performance and feature enhancements that we’re seeing from next generation Intel platforms, however, our strategy is to make these available to our customers at the same price points as similar specification 6 series LGA 1155 models."
Motherboard prices reportedly saw a hike between 5- to 10-percent as of early 2011 due to increased material costs and the impact of labor shortages. Sources said prices rose again in April 2011 between 3- and 8-percent due to increased costs of many components stemming from the earthquake hitting northeastern Japan in March 2011.