Vietnamese province that hosts Big Tech's factories now fashionably COVID-free

Industrial parks in Bac Giang, home to Apple and Samsung suppliers, battled shutdowns and skyrocketing COVID infections among workers since May

The Vietnamese province of Bac Giang, home to numerous factories that contribute to tech supply chains, is back in full swing after a rocky few months full of COVID outbreaks and related shutdowns.

Back in May of this year, COVID’s Delta variant brought a fourth wave of infections across Vietnam that caused lockdowns in Vietnam's major cities. Northeast of Hanoi, the provinces of Bac Giang and Bac Ninh were identified as high-risk areas where the virus was thriving. Both were put under specialized safety regimes because many workers lived and worked in tight quarters, often commuting from Hanoi.

Bac Giang had 240,000 workers across six industrial zones when it recorded a boom of positive COVID cases, making it the country's biggest hotspot.

The outbreak led to the suspension of operations in four of the industrial parks – including those home to Foxconn and Luxshare, which manufacture products for Apple. Thirteen Samsung suppliers were also impacted.

A gradual reopening was planned to protect jobs and supply chains. Efforts to do so saw the construction of makeshift dormitories for employees, regular testing and vaccine distribution.

In mid-July, the Vietnamese government asked Samsung, the largest foreign investor in the country, to find COVID-19 vaccinations to protect workers in industrial-park-heavy provinces.

Over the weekend, it announced all of Bac Giang has resumed operations, and 99.7 per cent of labourers have returned to work. The locality has gone 27 days without community infection and 99.9 per cent of the COVID cases – roughly 5775 people – have been cleared of the virus. Vaccination is underway in the province, with almost 20 per cent of the population receiving double doses.

COVID shutdowns have strongly affected supply chains across the tech industry. Despite supply chain troubles such as those in Vietnam, Samsung reported record-breaking Q2 2021 group revenue. It attributed the positive numbers to a surge in memory prices and demand that is expected to last throughout the rest of the year.

However, smartphone sales for the Korean tech giant dropped by 22 per cent from Q1 to Q2 – a plunge Samsung blames on industry component supply shortages and production disruptions in Vietnam.

With Bac Giang back in full swing, the world may soon find out how well these tech giants will do in COVID times with Vietnamese manufacturing disruptions removed. ®

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