Fri, Jan 31, 2020 - Page 12 News List

Virus Fears: Local chipmakers’ China output healthy

‘OPERATING NORMALLY’:A Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co spokeswoman said that the manufacturer’s fabs in Shanghai and Nanjing are ‘running around the clock’

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

The nation’s major contract chipmakers, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) and United Microelectronics Co (UMC, 聯電), yesterday said their Chinese factories are operating normally, as the fabs are in areas less affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

The chipmakers said they have activated the necessary measures to keep the coronavirus from spreading, including avoiding business trips in China, adhering to stringent hygiene practices and taking extra staff temperature checks.

“Our [Chinese] fabs are operating normally. They are running around the clock,” TSMC deputy spokesperson Nina Kao (高孟華) said by telephone.

TSMC operates one 8-inch fab in Shanghai and one 12-inch fab in Nanjing.

Employees at the Nanjing fab are to return to work on Monday next week and Shanghai fab employees on Feb. 10, Kao said.

UMC said that production line workers at its Chinese fabs operated by Hejian Technology (Suzhou) Co (和艦科技) and United Semiconductor (Xiamen) Co (聯芯科技) have not been affected by the outbreak.

However, the company’s financial and accounting employees would not be returning to work until Feb. 10, in compliance with local regulations, UMC said.

The company did not halt production at its Chinese fabs during the Lunar New Year holiday as most semiconductor companies did, a UMC public relations official said by telephone.

Some local governments — including Shanghai and Chongqing, as well as Jiangsu and Guangdong provinces — have asked companies to extend the Lunar New Year holiday by 10 days to Feb. 9 in an attempt to prevent the virus from spreading.

With confirmed cases of people infected by the coronavirus increasing globally, Yuanta Securities Investment Consulting Co (元大投顧) said investors should note that companies might “take a more conservative approach in offering earnings guidance.”

Chip packaging and testing service supplier ASE Technology Holding Co (ASE, 日月光投控) has mobilized an emergency task force to allocate capacity at its Chinese fabs, it said yesterday, adding that measures have been adopted to curb the spread of the coronavirus and that employees are restricted from traveling in China, unless it is a necessity.

The company prefers online video conferencing instead of face-to-face meetings, ASE said, adding that employees with a temperature higher than 38°C are barred from entering its factories.

LCD panelmakers AU Optronics Corp (AUO, 友達光電) and Innolux Corp (群創) said that they have set up special task forces to cope with the epidemic and that employees are forbidden to travel to areas affected by the outbreak.

AUO, which operates assembly lines and manufacturing sites in Suzhou and Kunshan in Jiangsu Province and Xiamen in Fujian Province, said that employees from affected areas are to be quarantined in separate office space.

Innolux declined to comment on factory operations in China.

“All factories are currently operating smoothly,” the Miaoli-based company said.

Innolux operates plants in Shanghai, Ningbo, Foshan and Nanjing.

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