China’s factories struggle without key import: Foreign talent

The Nikkei Asia has noted that while China’s internal lockdowns have been lifted, some makers of electronic parts remain cut off from a vital resource for expanding production: international talent. Travel restrictions have complicated the ability of engineers from Japan, the USA and other countries to travel to China to install new factory equipment. The article noted:

  • China’s leading LCD panel maker, BOE Technology Group, has been unable to carry out a planned expansion of its cutting-edge factory in Wuhan because Japanese technology advisers have returned home due to COVID. Without the advisers, the plant cannot install its latest machinery.
  • South Korea’s Samsung Electronics has recently launched a new memory chip plant in Xian, China, it’s second in the city. Technicians from Japan were supposed to help install equipment, but Chinese and Japanese travel restrictions have thrown up hurdles to their arrival. 
  • Netherlands-based ASML, the world’s largest maker of semiconductor etching systems, has reportedly delayed shipments owing to travel restrictions and logistics problems created by the COVID pandemic. 
  • Chinese chipmaker Tsinghua Unigroup’s Wuhan semiconductor plant is operating, but its expansion plans are reportedly at risk of delay.

These delays ultimately hit production of consumer electronics and make it more difficult to procure Chinese-made parts for finished product assembly outside of China.

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