S.Korea-invested firms in China kicking off business operation

By Ma Jingjing and Zhang Dan Source:Global Times Published: 2020/2/26 17:19:19

Local residents wait to pay at the counter in a shop in Seoul, South Korea, Feb. 24, 2020. South Korea confirmed 231 more cases of the COVID-19 on Monday, raising the total number of infections to 833, and the death toll rose to eight. The country raised its four-tier virus alert to the highest "red" level on Sunday as the virus infections soared for the past week. (Xinhua/Wang Jingqiang)

As South Korea reported over 1,000 novel coronavirus infections now, worries arose in China that South Koreans stranded in their home country may impede operations of South Korean-invested firms in China.

Several South Korean companies in Qingdao, East China’s Shandong Province – a popular destination for South Koreans – said on Wednesday they have started manufacturing or are making preparations to do so, seeing no impact from the city’s stricter epidemic prevention measures toward foreign visitors.

South Korean cutting tool manufacturer YG-1 Corp’s China branch in the Qingdao free trade port area told the Global Times that the company, with 900 employees, resumed production on February 10, with 80 percent of the staff having come back to work.

“We have 16 South Korean staff in our Qingdao facility, and 10 returned to their hometowns during the Spring Festival holiday but came back to China on January 28,” the company said, adding that only two or three of them work onsite while the rest work from home.

Generally, South Koreans who work in Qingdao come back to China on the sixth or seventh day of the first lunar month and thus the deteriorating epidemic situation in South Korea is unlikely to affect the normal operation of these firms in China, a Chinese representative of South Korea-funded Qingdao Clearview Medical Technology Co told the Global Times.

Qingdao began to arrange for designated vehicles to pick up all foreign visitors arriving in Qingdao and send them to their homes or stay in designated hotels for a 14-day mandatory quarantine to contain the cross-border spread of the virus.

Qingdao’s neighboring city Yantai announced Wednesday it will provide free nucleic acid test kits for foreign visitors, with those testing abnormal to be sent to designated hospitals for treatment.
South Korean diagnostic reagents producer Boditech Med Inc has a research and development (R&D) center in Qingdao and the head of the center didn’t come back to China before Qingdao imposed the stricter rule.

An administrative staffer at the R&D facility surnamed Min told the Global Times on Wednesday that “our Korean head usually keeps in touch with us via phone or email, and therefore whether he returns or not has little impact.”

By Monday, 9,173 foreign enterprises in Shandong had resumed operations, accounting for 76.4 percent of the province’s total, according to a report on the Ministry of Commerce website.

Shandong has released 19 measures to help foreign companies in the province to restart production, including virus prevention product procurement and catering services.

Posted in: ECONOMY

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