Micron expects COVID-19-hit Xi'an DRAM factory to reopen as normal soon

Neither cough nor sneeze nor gloom of coronavirus stays these chip makers from their appointed rounds


Micron expects to resume normal operations at its Chinese DRAM facility in Xi'an later this month despite it being under lock down following a COVID-19 outbreak about two weeks ago.

"We do expect to get back to normal sometime later this month," said David Zinsner, chief financial officer at Micron, during a webcast for the JP Morgan Auto/Tech conference this week.

Micron assembles and tests DRAM at the Xi'an facility. The biz last week said it reduced the headcount and operations at the facility after Xi'an was locked down in December. Samsung, which also has manufacturing facilities in Xi'an, on the same day announced it too had scaled down operations.

Micron says it has improved air-flow systems, and increased on-site testing and electronic contact tracing.

"COVID cases are down and ... we do expect on some the restrictions to kind of relax and that will allow us to fully staff that facility," Zinsner added.

Xi'an is in China's Shaanxi province, which has apparently recorded 1,691 cases of COVID-19 since December 23. The number of cases peaked at 188 on January 3, and fell to 36 the next day, according to available figures.

The pandemic has already put Micron through the paces of shutting down factories, so the company has ramped up operations at other facilities worldwide to make up volume.

The production slowdown in Xi'an will impact Micron in terms of timing of shipments, though Zinsner said the company expects to largely recover from that by the end of the quarter. Micron's plant in Xi'an drives a meaningful DRAM volume for customers outside the US, mostly in China and Asia.

"When we produce in China and bring that product back into the US, it incurs a tariff so we try to avoid shipping to US customers from our Xi'an facility," Zinsner said. ®


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