[Update 2: Motorola, Realme, and Xiaomi too] Samsung, OPPO, Vivo temporarily suspend smartphone production in India due to COVID-19
As the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) tightens its grip and forces upon the world an inevitable lockdown, businesses have no other option but to let employees stay at home. While the internet empowers most of the workforce to operate remotely, many other commercial operations including manufacturing are being hampered significantly. Taking the surging number of Coronavirus cases into consideration, several electronics manufacturers including Samsung, OPPO, Vivo have halted the production of smartphones in India till at least March 25th.
These announcements come after the several state governments including the one governing India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh (UP), announced a lockdown on commercial activities including manufacturing in their respective state. The orders, therefore, also impact the manufacturing plants of Samsung, OPPO, and Vivo located in Greater Noida, a suburban city in UP and close to India’s national capital, New Delhi. As per the state government’s orders, the factories must remain closed at least till March 25th or until further notice.
Samsung’s Greatest Noida factory is its largest manufacturing facility in the world where it produces 120 million smartphone units every year. Other than smartphones, the factory also produces a wide range of Samsung’s home appliances like smart TVs, air conditioners, refrigerators, washing machines, etc. Samsung India’s spokesperson shared the following statement with ZDNet:
“Following the Indian government’s policy, we will temporarily halt operations of our Noida factory until the 25th. We will work hard to make sure there is no setback in supplying our products.”
The company also shut down production in Gumi, South Korea and shifted production to Vietnam recently after a factory worker tested positive for Coronavirus.
Another source told The Economic Times that besides temporarily shutting operations at its Greater Noida factory, Samsung has instructed the R&D employees working at the factory to work from home. Vivo, meanwhile, has asked all non-factory workers to work from their homes. We reached out to Vivo but were declined any comment on the impact of this lockdown on production.
LG has also reportedly stopped production at its home appliances plants in Greater Noida and another one in Pune, located in the state of Maharashtra in Central India, until March 31st. Similar to Samsung, LG also had to shut down production at one of its plants in Korea after a few employees were found to have been infected by the COVID-19 virus.
In contrast, the operations of Ericsson and Nokia, two of the largest telecom equipment manufacturers in India, are continuing with production at their factories in Pune and Chennai, located in states of Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, respectively. Ericson told The Economic Times that the factory is currently operating with 50% workforce under “exemption granted by the relevant authorities“.
We can expect other smartphone and electronics manufacturers to follow the suit and halt production at their plants across the country to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We’re awaiting similar statements from other companies and will update the article when we hear from them.
Update: Samsung announces country-wide shutdown, OPPO, Realme, and Xiaomi comply with state-wise lockdown orders
Samsung has announced that all its manufacturing plants across India will be shut temporarily until further notice by the state and central governments. The following statement by Mr Partha Ghosh, Head, Corporate Communications, Samsung India, was shared with us after publishing of this article:
“At Samsung, health and safety of employees is our highest priority. As a measure to safeguard our employees and their families against Covid-19 and in compliance with directives from the Government, we have decided to currently suspend our manufacturing operations and have asked employees at our sales, marketing and R&D offices across India to work from home.”
OPPO also sent us an official statement on the temporary halt of operations at its Greater Noida plant. The said statement reads:
“Safety of our employees is of utmost priority at OPPO. Keeping the recent outbreak of coronavirus in mind, a host of preventive measures have already been undertaken. Operations in our Greater Noida factory have been suspended as per the directive from the Government. Additionally, all OPPO India employees have been advised to work from home until further notice. Our travel advisory is already in play and traveling interstate has been postponed for all employees. Currently, all OPPO employees are in good health and we are complying with guidelines of state and central government to control the epidemic and ensure safety of all OPPO staff. Thank you for reaching out to us, we will keep you posted if further development happens at our end.”
Realme, which uses the same manufacturing facility in Greater Noida, has also confirmed that the manufacturing activities have been stopped until further announcement. The company shared its statement with us in written and the same is as follows:
“In view of the COVID – 19 pandemic that has spread rapidly around the country and worldwide, realme India is diligently complying with Government directives and advisories and is taking necessary precautions to ensure employee safety and well-being. As per Government’s notice, realme India has suspended production of its manufacturing operations in Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh since 21st March 2020.
While this will temporarily affect our inventory and supply in the market for some time, the safety of our workforce is of paramount importance to us. The company will resume manufacturing only after government’s further notice while ensuring safety measures of all employees.
realme India has also been taking adequate measures to enable all employees to ‘work from home. The upcoming launch of realme Narzo series was pre-recorded, while taking necessary measures to provide all staff and workers with a safe and healthy environment.”
Additionally, Xiaomi has said it will also abide by COVID-19 advisories by state governments. Xiaomi has seven different plants across the country. Out of the eight plants,
- five are in partnership with Foxconn; out of these five, one is in Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu, while four are in Sri City, Andhra Pradesh.
- one is in partnership with Flex and this plant is also based in Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu.
- one plant is dedicated to Mi TVs and is operating in Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh in partnership with Dixon Technologies,
- and lastly, one Noida, Uttar Pradesh in partnership with Hipad for the manufacturing of power banks.
Notably, none of these plants are directly owned by Xiaomi, so the onus of halting production lies on the partner companies. The state governments have already ordered lockdowns in Andhra Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh while Tamil Nadu will be under a lockdown starting tomorrow evening i.e. March 24th, 6PM IST. As a result, we can expect all of these manufacturing plants to shut down manufacturing until at least March 31st. We have reached out to Foxconn, Hipad, and Dixon Technologies for exact details.
Meanwhile, Xiaomi has shared the following statement with us:
“Each facility such as corporate office, warehouse, Service center, Mi Home, Manufacturing plant will abide by the lockdown orders issued by the state and UTs.”
Update 2: Motorola India shuts down manufacturing
Motorola India has also shut down its manufacturing in at its facility in Tamil Nadu, India following the state government’s orders due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The following statement by Prashanth Mani, MD, Motorola India, was shared with us:
“Safety of our employees and their families is of utmost importance to us and we are 100% compliant with all relevant guidelines issued by the various state governments. We have stopped operations at our manufacturing facility in Tamil Nadu, starting March 23rd. Further, all employees across our various offices in India have been advised to exercise a mandatory ‘Work From Home’ policy till 31st March. Along with this, we have issued strict guidelines and advisory for all precautions to be taken by them and their respective families.”