By Sarah Wu and Norihiko Shirouzu
TAIWAN/BEIJING, March 14 (Reuters) – China’s efforts to curb its biggest COVID-19 outbreak in two years have forced Apple suppliers such as Foxconn and automakers Toyota and Volkswagen to suspend some operations, opening concern about supply chain disruption.
Several Chinese provinces and cities have suffered from the restrictions in line with Beijing’s goal of suppressing the contagion as soon as possible, including the tech hub of Shenzhen in southern China.
Shenzhen, China’s Silicon Valley, is lifting a massive testing cape after dozens of new local cases were reported. The authorities have suspended public transport and have set people to work from home this week as much as possible.
China has recorded more symptomatic local cases of COVID-19 so far this year than in all of 2021.
Foxconn said its operations in Shenzhen would be suspended until further notice. Two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters the operations of the company and its subsidiaries in Shenzhen would be suspended for the first half of the week.
One of the people said the government was allowing companies to operate if they could create a “closed management” system in which employees lived and worked in a bubble, a format that was applied during the Beijing Winter Olympics.
Other employers in Taiwan working in Shenzhen for manufacturers of printed circuit boards and chips by Unimicron Technology Corp, which also supply to Apple and Intel, and manufacturers of circuit boards that are flexible at Sunflex Technology Co Ltd.
Shenzhen’s Yantian International Container Terminal (YICT), one of China’s busiest ports, said in a WeChat statement that it was operating normally, although two companies with warehouses at the port said they were forced to temporarily suspend operations. .
Other cities have enacted restrictions of various kinds. Authorities have locked down the city of Changchun, capital of the northeastern province of Jilin, closed schools in the financial hub of Shanghai and suspended public transport in the manufacturing hub of Dongguan.
Toyota said on Monday that its joint venture with China’s FAW group had suspended production in Changchun, although its operations in the city of Tianjin were not affected.
Volkswagen, which also has a joint venture with FAW, said it has suspended production at its vehicle and component plants from Monday to Wednesday.
(Reporting by Sarah Wu, Ben Blanchard, and Yimou Lee in Taipei, Norihiko Shirouzu in Beijing; Additional reporting by Josh Horwitz in Shanghai and Stella Qiu in Beijing; Editing in Spanish by Javier Leira)