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Korean electronics firms to resume Chinese plant operations

All News 10:00 February 10, 2020

By Joo Kyung-don

SEOUL, Feb. 10 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's electronics companies are set to resume their plant operations in China, industry officials said Monday, following an extended Lunar New Year holiday amid the spread of the novel coronavirus in the world's No. 2 economy.

The companies will resume production Monday, although some manufacturing facilities may restart their operations later this week depending on Chinese provincial governments' decisions, according to company officials here.

South Korean firms have had to temporarily shut down some of their plants in China due to Lunar New Year holiday and the outbreak of the new coronavirus that has so far killed more than 800 people in the Asian country.

China's Lunar New Year holiday started Jan. 25 and usually lasts for a week, but Beijing extended it until Feb. 9, while focusing on containing the spread of the deadly virus.

This photo provided by Samsung Display Co. shows the company's plant in Suzhou, China. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

Samsung Electronics Co. said it will resume operations of a TV plant in Tianjin and a home appliance factory in Suzhou, while LG Electronics Inc. said its seven manufacturing facilities in China, including those in Nanjing and Tianjin, will restart production Monday, although some may see delays if some Chinese provincial governments decide to further extend the Lunar New Year break.

LG Display Co. said it will also restart its display module lines in Nanjing and Yantai on Monday. Samsung Display Co. didn't close its Chinese facilities during the Lunar New Year holiday but said it will increase the utilization rate of the facilities.

Although they have closed their plants for at least a week, the companies said it is possible to make up the production loss. However, some of the companies, especially those that require more human labor, said it might take some time to produce at normal levels.

"It will be important to see how many workers can actually return to their work," said an official at a local display company. "If too many factory workers are quarantined because of the virus, then it will be difficult to recover quickly."

Industry observers said it's also important to monitor situations regarding parts supply networks and logistics systems.

"It's still uncertain whether the companies can fully prepare their core parts and workforce for production," said Lee Su-bin, an analyst at Daishin Securities Co. "Until mid-February, the companies will focus on securing parts and materials, while managing their workforce."


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