Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong (left) shaking hands with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Oct. 30, 2018 (Yonhap)
Samsung Group’s affiliates in Vietnam could take a blow from the entry restrictions on travelers from South Korea imposed by the local government due to the coronavirus spread, according to industry sources Monday.
Samsung Display was planning to dispatch around 700 engineers, including some from its subcontractors, to support the ongoing ramp-up at its plant for small and midsized organic light-emitting diode panel modules in Bac Ninh, northern province of Vietnam.
The OLED modules produced in the country are used for Samsung Electronics’ latest premium mobile products.
The Vietnamese government has suspended visa-free travel for Koreans since Feb. 29 and has stopped issuing new work visas in order to prevent further spread of the novel coronavirus.
Even if allowed entry, Koreans are forced to be quarantined for 14 days.
“Considering the quarantine period, any delays in the engineering staff’s entry into Vietnam could affect the ramp-up process,” said an official at Samsung Display.
The OLED module manufacturing is part of the back-end process.
Although the entry delay won’t directly affect the firm’s OLED production, it could influence module supplies for its customers like Samsung Electronics, according to the official.
Samsung Electronics has moved some portion of the latest Galaxy S20 phone production from Gumi, Korea, to Vietnam due to the virus outbreak.
Regarding the entry ban, Korean Ambassador to Vietnam Park Noh-wan has requested the Vietnamese authorities to exempt about 1,000 Korean tech engineers, including those from Samsung and LG affiliates, from the restrictive measures.
Samsung is the biggest foreign business operating in Vietnam. Since 1995, it has invested nearly $17 billion, employing around 130,000 local workers at its manufacturing facilities for TVs, smartphones, displays, batteries and other electronic parts.
By Song Su-hyun (email@example.com)