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Intel and Samsung impacted as COVID closes electronics factories in Vietnam

750 cases among workers sees labour force asked to stay on-site

Saigon Hi-Tech Park, a Vietnamese electronics factory complex, has been forced to shut down and require workers to live on-site after more than 750 employees tested positive for COVID-19.

The park is home to many high-tech companies – including an Intel chip assembly and test plant, and a Samsung factory.

Samsung, which makes over half of its smartphones in Vietnam, has closed three of its 16 factories after 46 cases were found among its employees, and reduced its available workforce from 7000 to 3000.

Vietnam’s Ministry of Health instituted a requirement that companies introduce a plan to house workers – either at the factories or off-site – and shuttle them directly to their facilities.

Intel has already made housing arrangements, and is continuing reduced operations.

Nidec Sankyo, which makes magnetic card readers, has been shut since July 3rd after 600 reported COVID-19 cases. Contract manufacturer Jabil has also shut down operations at the park, as has a company named Pou Chen that is a key supplier to Nike and Adidas .

It is unclear whether the closures will create shortages or product shipping delays, but they clearly have the potential to put a kink in supply chains.

Tech exports are a substantial contributor to Vietnam’s economy, and the Saigon Hi-Tech Park accounts for 30 per cent of exports generated by nearby Ho Chi Minh City.

The City tightened its lockdown last Friday, even banning food delivery – a decision that sparked panic buys across grocery stores.

Vietnam currently has a low vaccination rate – around four per cent of its almost 100 million people – and is experiencing over 1000 daily coronavirus cases.

The government has given factory workers vaccine priority, and companies like Intel and Samsung are assisting with vaccination. Nikkei Asia reported Tuesday that Intel had vaccinated more than 70 per cent of its employees in the nation.

A canned statement Tuesday on Samsung Vietnam’s web site said the company had donated nearly 11 billion VND (US$480,000) to control and prevent COVID in Thai Nguyen province in the Northeast region of Vietnam, adding to previous donations totaling 112B VND (around US$5 billion).

The donations come as no surprise after the Vietnamese government’s May call for Samsung to provide assistance in controlling the virus. ®

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