Work as usual: Huawei keeps factories open despite virus outbreak

Several Chinese technology firms have continued production throughout extended Lunar New Year holidays.

    Although Beijing has called on companies to halt all work in some cities and provinces, a special exemption allows certain critical industries to remain in operation [Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters]
    Although Beijing has called on companies to halt all work in some cities and provinces, a special exemption allows certain critical industries to remain in operation [Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters]

    Some technology firms in China are continuing to manufacture parts and products despite government calls across various cities and provinces for work to be halted as Beijing seeks to stop the spread of the coronavirus currently ravaging the country.

    Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies Co Ltd said on Monday it had resumed production of goods including consumer devices and carrier equipment, and operations are running normally.

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    The company restarted manufacturing in line with a special exemption that allows certain critical industries to remain in operation, despite Beijing's call to halt all work in some cities and provinces.

    The spokesman said most of the production was in Dongguan, a city in the southern Guangdong province, situated about 1,030 kilometres (640 miles) from Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak.

    Other companies have also kept production running, in some cases even through the Lunar New Year holidays celebrated nationwide, in a sign of the critical importance Beijing places on its domestic technology supply chain, a subject of friction with the United States.

    Yangtze Memory Technologies Co Ltd (YMTC), a state-backed maker of flash memory chips based in Wuhan, confirmed on Monday that it has not yet ceased production.

    "At present, production and operations at YMTC are proceeding normally and in an orderly manner," a company spokesman wrote in a statement on Monday.

    The spokesman added that no factory employees have been confirmed as being infected and that the company has enacted isolation measures and partitions to ensure the safety of employees.

    State media reported that the chipmaker did not cease operations over the Lunar New Year holiday.

    Meanwhile, Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC) also kept production running throughout the holiday break.

    In a post on social media on Monday, the company said it organised a workgroup before the Lunar New Year to ensure the plants could stay open while protecting the safety of employees and adhering to government regulations.

    "SMIC needs to ensure that factory production runs 365 days a year and 24 hours a day to meet customers' fabrication needs," its post read.

    The chip fabricator, which rivals Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co, has facilities in Tianjin, Shenzhen, Beijing, and Shanghai.

    SOURCE: Reuters news agency