Compal Electronics, which makes products for tech giants including Dell, Apple and Amazon, is shutting down a plant in northern Taiwan while several workers test positive for COVID-19 for a week as a highly contagious variant of omicron spreads quickly across the island.
Compal Electronics is the second largest contract laptop manufacturer in the world. The company said the decision to close the Taiwan plant was made once a new variant of the coronavirus was detected in three workers. The manufacturer is reported to have arranged tests for all 1,800 employees and supplier representatives who recently visited the plant. Weekly downtime is said to have a negligible impact on annual profits — less than 0.1%. In 2021, Compal had $44.6 billion in cash revenues. The company intends to assess the situation and use manufacturing facilities in countries like Vietnam to support production at the required level when needed.
For the first time in months, a major electronics maker is completely shutting down production in Taiwan over the risk of spreading COVID. At the same time, an outbreak of the spread of infections on the island, of which Taoyuan has become the epicenter, has been observed in recent weeks.
The city is the headquarters of many world-class companies, including the world’s largest printed circuit board manufacturer Unimicron, the largest contract manufacturer of laptops Quanta Computer. In addition, the community is close to the Hsinchu Semiconductor Hub, which houses the headquarters of TSMC and United Microelectronics and operates major manufacturing facilities.
Compal is a major maker of iPad and Apple Watch, Google Pixel smartphones, and Amazon Echo smart speakers. One of the Taoyuan factory’s biggest customers is Dell, which mainly orders laptops, although the site also makes small batches of IoT devices and industrial computers.
The largest contract electronics maker, Foxconn, said it took preventive measures against the spread of COVID at its factories in Taoyuan, including halting the movement of workers between different factories, as early as the first week of January. Visits from strangers are also prohibited, training halls are closed.
Quanta Computer, headquartered in Taoyuan and employing thousands of people, has also implemented strict lockdown measures. In addition to stopping production, access to all public places will be closed, visits from outsiders will be suspended, and communication on most issues will be introduced through video communication channels.
As of January 16, 72.3% of all Taiwan residents were fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and 80.7% had received at least one dose of the vaccine. About 7% have already received the third dose as a “booster”. Since the pandemic began, Taiwan has recorded 17,885 infections and 851 deaths from COVID-19.