Foxconn subsidiary hit as Taiwan virus cluster grows

A subsidiary of Taiwan’s tech giant Foxconn said Tuesday it has temporarily suspended operations after six foreign workers tested positive for Covid-19 in the latest outbreak within the industry. 

Foxsemicon Integrated Technology is the semiconductor arm of the world’s largest contract electronics maker Foxconn that supplies major international brands including Apple. 

The company, which makes semiconductor manufacturing and inspection equipment, said operations in its facilities in northern Miaoli county will be suspended until Wednesday for nearly 430 workers to undergo rapid screening. 

Foxsemicon said in a filing to the Taiwan Stock Exchange that its June output and revenue are expected to drop two to three percent due to the suspension of work. 

It is now the fourth tech company in Miaoli to report infections among employees at a time when Taiwan is battling a sudden surge of the virus.

The island emerged largely unscathed from the pandemic last year with just a few hundred cases and single-digit deaths thanks to one of the world’s best coronavirus responses. 

But infections have jumped to more than 11,000 with 308 deaths after a cluster initially detected among airline pilots spread. 

The government has since raised its pandemic alert level and imposed stricter social distancing rules till June 28.

Three other tech firms, including leading chip testing and packaging company King Yuan Electronics Company (KYEC), have suspended migrant employees from working to contain cluster infections.

So far 210 KYEC employees have tested positive in the first major outbreak in Taiwan’s semiconductor industry, which is operating at full capacity to meet a worldwide shortage. 

Local media raised concerns that the suspension could impact the global chip shortage as KYEC’s business is a key final step in the semiconductor supply chain. 

The company supplies some top international tech firms such as Intel, Qualcomm and Nvidia.

Taiwan’s semiconductor factories have been struggling to plug a pandemic-driven shortage of chips that power essential electronic devices.

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