After Apple's ODM Foxconn was forced to shut down its iPhone factories in China following the coronavirus threat, Samsung Electronics has now shut down one of its South Korean manufacturing units responsible for producing phones for the domestic market after a confirmed case of coronavirus infection.
Samsung had on Saturday, February 22, confirmed that one of its employees working at the mobile device factory in the South Korean city of Gumi was found to be infected with coronavirus. The factory is responsible for the production of high-end smartphones like the Galaxy Fold and the recently launched Galaxy Z Flip.
Samsung said in a press statement that it had closed the entire facility until Monday, February 24 and added that other workers who came in contact with the infected employee had been put under self-quarantine to avoid the risk of contagion. It also said that the employees were being tested for possible COVID-19 infection. Samsung said that access to the factory floor where the infected employee worked had been shut until Tuesday, February 25.
Samsung's Gumi factory located in the south-eastern Gyeongsangbuk-do province is responsible for producing smartphones meant for the South Korean domestic market. The factory is also where Samsung manufactures its high-end phones including the Galaxy Fold and the recently launched Galaxy Z Flip foldable smartphones.
However, the shutdown of the Gumi factory is not likely to have a major impact on Samsung's smartphone production unlike Apple, since the factory only accounts for a small portion of its total smartphone production. Most of Samsung's phones are manufactured in factories located in Vietnam and India.
Apple, on the other hand, depends greatly on Foxconn which has its biggest factories located in China and the shutdown at these factories inadvertently impacts the ODM's shipments to the American tech giant. Samsung has also said that its chip and display factories in other parts of South Korea will continue to operate normally.
Impact of coronavirus on the tech community
The outbreak of the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19) disease has claimed the lives of over 2,000 people around the world, mostly in China. This has disrupted the tech industry over the past couple of months in one way or another. Apple's supply was impacted due to its Taiwanese manufacturing partner being forced to shut down its biggest iPhone production lines in China due to the outbreak.
It was also the primary reason for the cancellation of the Mobile World Congress 2020 event (MWC 2020) which was slated to kick-off on February 24 with many major tech companies such as Sony, LG, NVIDIA, ZTE, Amazon, and Google withdrawing from the annual tech event that was to take place in Barcelona.