Samsung to close its last smartphone factory in China | Eurasia Diary -

21 October, Monday

Samsung to close its last smartphone factory in China

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In its heyday, Samsung’s complex in Huizhou in the northern part of the Pearl River Delta was the South Korean company’s largest Chinese factory, producing one in five smartphones sold in China in 2011.

Now, the small shops and suppliers that surround the vast complex – the focal point for the community for 27 years – have fallen silent. A notice posted on the gate, dated February 28, tells passersby that recruitment has been suspended.

“Actually, since February after the Chinese Lunar New Year, many – and a growing number – of residents of the [nearby] town of Chenjiang, from businesspeople, hawkers, workers, landlords, to security guards at nearby electronics factories have heard and spread the rumours that Samsung will shut down a large part of its production capacity in the coming months,” says Zhong Ming, a local resident in his 40s who has witnessed the rise of the Samsung factory over the last three decades.

Huizhou Samsung Electronics is Samsung’s last smartphone factory in China after the company closed its facility in Tianjin in December, having already ceased network equipment production earlier in 2018 at its factory in Shenzhen.

Workers in Huizhou talk of colleagues having already accepted voluntary redundancy, while other local residents, workers, and suppliers have almost taken it for granted that the factory will close.

“Streetlamps here were decorated with Samsung’s eye-catching billboards. Now, they are all gone,” says Steve Huang, an engineer who has worked at the plant for 17 years.

Huang is understandably concerned about his own job security, as he says the number of employees at the factory has dropped to about 4,000 from about 9,000 in 2013, when Samsung ranked No. 1 in China with 20% of the smartphone market.

Last year, its market share dropped to just 1% in the face of stiff competition from Chinese rivals like Huawei, Xiaomi, and Oppo.

The factory was born on August 24, 1992, four days before the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and South Korea, as the electronics giant signed a joint venture contract with the Huizhou city government.

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