Quanta Shanghai Manufacturing City (QSMC, 廣達上海製造城) would seem like an ideal site to implement China’s “closed loop” management system, meant to prevent the spread of COVID-19, that requires staff to live and work on-site in a secure bubble.
Sprawled over land the size of 20 football fields, the campus houses factories, living quarters for 40,000 workers and a supermarket.
Yet as COVID-19 breached Quanta’s defenses, the system turned into chaos on Thursday.
Photo: Screenshot from Quanta’s Web site
Videos posted online showed more than 100 Quanta workers physically overwhelming security guards in hazmat suits and vaulting over factory gates to avoid being trapped inside the factory amid rumors that workers that day tested positive for the virus.
The turmoil at Quanta underscores the struggles Shanghai faces to get its factories, many of them key links in global supply chains, back up to speed, even as much of the city remains locked down under China’s “zero COVID” policy.
Taiwan-based Quanta Computer Inc (廣達電腦) assembles about three-quarters of Apple Inc’s global MacBook production, and also makes circuit boards for Tesla Inc.
Quanta set up a closed loop to restart work at the factory on April 18 using about 5 percent of its workers, or 2,000 employees, with plans to triple that by April 22.
Chinese state media touted the restart as an example of how Shanghai was keeping business running while adhering to stringent COVID-19 measures.
However, cases have been reported daily at an address belonging to the campus from March 26 to Wednesday, Shanghai government data showed.
Calls seeking help to bring attention to positive cases that were not being isolated at Quanta began appearing on Weibo from April 6, five days after Shanghai implemented a city-wide lockdown.
Employees began posting photos and reports on Douyin (抖音), known as TikTok outside China, showing dozens of workers lining up for buses to be taken to central quarantine facilities.
They also took videos of themselves resting in Shanghai’s National Exhibition and Convention Center, one of the city’s largest quarantine centers, as well as at a facility purpose-built to house Quanta workers.
Two employees and a person with knowledge of the campus’ operations said there were multiple infections there.
“Each dormitory reported a few positive cases a day, and eventually everyone became positive,” said one of the two workers, who gave his surname as Li (李), adding that there were eight cases in his room, including himself.
Employees said that cases were often not isolated for days after testing positive, and one source said there were not enough isolation spaces, resulting in infections.
That was a trigger for Thursday night’s chaos, employees said, as rumors spread that positive cases had been found in the factories.
The workers were spooked by an order telling them not to return to their dormitories, raising fears that they could be locked down inside the plant.
While videos of the confrontation were removed, discussion continued online, with one user simply saying: “What a mess.”
AVOIDING CONFUSION: Passengers are to be able to check in two items of luggage, while the free weight allowance is to be increased to conform with other airlines EVA Airways Corp (長榮航空) yesterday announced that from June 23 it is to adopt a new baggage allowance policy for all passengers with a higher weight limit as it aims to benefit passengers and increase efficiency. The airline currently has a two-system baggage policy: It allows passengers flying to the US and Canada to check in two pieces of baggage with a free weight allowance, while for those flying to Asia, Europe and Oceania there is also a free weight allowance, but no limit on the number of pieces of baggage. From June 23, passengers would be able to check in two
MORE THAN BUZZ: The chip designer said it has received numerous orders from automakers to supply 5G modem chips, as it works to expand beyond smartphones MediaTek Inc (聯發科) yesterday said it would ship the first 5G chips for vehicles to customers in the Asia-Pacific region by the end of the year, as it moves to expand the reach of its 5G chips beyond smartphones. The Hsinchu-based chip designer said it has been developing 5G chips for connected vehicles over the past few years, targeting applications such as telematics and in-vehicle information systems. “We are seeing demand for 5G technology from numerous makers of connected cars, including electric vehicle makers. We have obtained numerous orders from automakers to supply 5G modem chips with highly integrated features,” J.C. Hsu
Qualcomm Inc yesterday said it would maintain its supply chain strategy of sourcing chips from multiple foundry partners, including advanced chips from two major suppliers, to ensure a sufficient chip supply amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Qualcomm is reportedly working with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) and Samsung Electronics Co on advanced products, such as 4-nanometer chips, for its new flagship 5G chips, the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 series. Qualcomm is sourcing chips made by mature technologies from several foundry partners, the company said. Alex Katouzian, general manager of Qualcomm Technologies Inc’s mobile, compute and XR business, told a virtual media briefing that
US DRAM maker Micron Technology Inc is set to install the industry’s most cutting-edge technology — extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography equipment — in its facility in Taichung this year, the company said yesterday. In early preparation for the volume production of 1-gamma nanometer node DRAM, “we plan to introduce EUV tools to our Taichung fab later this year,” Micron president and chief executive officer Sanjay Mehrotra said via video at the Computex trade show in Taipei. Gamma refers to the dimension of half the distance between cells in a DRAM chip. Micron is also looking forward to beginning mass production of its