Toyota among businesses shut as COVID cases spike in China

Toyota to invest Ksh.377.09 billion in automotive battery production

Several multinational corporations have ceased operations as China expands its COVID-19 lockdowns.

Authorities placed Shenzhen’s 17.5 million residents under lockdown for at least a week on Sunday, citing a surge in Covid-19 infections in the city.

According to BBC, Shanghai suspended in-person classes and shut down intercity bus services, while the northeast industrial centre of Changchun, in Jilin, a city of about 9 million people accounting for about 11 percent of China’s total annual car output in 2020  was locked down.

This came a day after the government of China imposed a five-day lockdown on the 12.5 million residents of the southern city of Shenzhen, with all buses and subway services suspended.

Businesses in many of the affected areas have been told to close or send employees home unless they provide essential services such as food, utilities, or other necessities.

While Shenzhen’s GDP accounts for only 2.7 percent of national output, the city is home to the headquarters of tech titans such as Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Huawei Technologies Co., as well as Apple Inc. supplier Foxconn, also known as Hon Hai Precision Industry, which has its China headquarters in the area. In response to the lockdown, the company has halted operations in Shenzhen, including at an iPhone manufacturing facility.

Foxconn, which makes iPhone for Apple, ceased operations in Shenzhen on Monday, stating that the date it would resume production there would be advised by the local government.

 “Due to our diversified production sites in China, we have adjusted the production line to minimise the potential impact,” it said in a statement to the BBC. Its plant in Zhengzhou – the world’s largest iPhone factory – remains open, as the city was not hit by the restrictions.

Toyota, which shut its factory in Changchun city in Jilin province, did not give a timeline for when business would resume. The Japanese carmaker told the BBC that the move was made to consider the impact of supplier operation, and the safety and security of employees and related parties.

Volkswagen also ceased operations in Changchun, stating that production of Volkswagen and Audi vehicles and components had been affected, but that it hoped to reopen its factory on Thursday.

Ping An Insurance Group Co. and China Merchants Bank Co. are two of the city’s major financial institutions. Several foreign banks, including UBS Group AG and HSBC Holdings, have also established branches in the area.

Shanghai Tower, China’s tallest building,  was  also locked down on Monday, trapping workers and visitors inside as authorities raced to contain a spreading Covid-19 outbreak. China’s tallest building and the second-tallest in the world after Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, was locked down as required by virus control measures.

Tens of millions of people across the country face restrictions, including the entire Jilin province and technology hub Shenzhen, as authorities report record numbers of cases.

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