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Korean plants, shops around world close on coronavirus spread

In Europe, world‘s top television manufacturer has shut TV plants in Hungary and Slovakia, stopping all of its TV production activities for the European market.

The Vittorio Emanuele Gallery is deserted due to the coronavirus outbreak, Milan, Italy, on Monday. (Yonhap)
The Vittorio Emanuele Gallery is deserted due to the coronavirus outbreak, Milan, Italy, on Monday. (Yonhap)

Many industrial facilities and retail shops run by South Korean businesses across the globe are suspending operations as governments are ordering weekslong lockdowns amid the growing coronavirus spread, according to industry sources Wednesday.

Korea’s biggest steel provider Posco has decided to close its processing centers in Italy, Malaysia and the Philippines following government directives.

Posco-ITPC, a stainless steel processing center located near Verona, northeastern Italy -- which processes 40,000 tons -- will halt operations from Thursday through April 3 in accordance with the government’s order to suspend all kinds of production activities, except for essential goods.

The steelmaker’s processing centers in Malaysia and the Philippines have been closed since last week, and are scheduled to reopen next month.

Hyosung TNC has shut down its spandex production facility in Milan since Monday. The textile and trading unit of Hyosung Group hasn’t yet set a date to resume operations.

Samsung Electronics, after deciding to shut its smartphone and home appliances plants in India and Brazil for days, has also closed all retail outlets in Brazil.

All sales activities will go online in the Latin American country, as the situation seems to be worsening, according to the company.

A Samsung employee working for the mobile device business has tested positive for the COVID-19 after a recent business trip to Brazil.

Samsung’s brick-and-mortar stores in the United States and Canada have been closed since last week.

Korean battery makers based in the US are also temporarily reducing factory operations.

Upon the stay-at-home order of the Michigan state government issued on Tuesday, LG Chem and Samsung SDI have nearly closed their electric vehicle battery factories there.

LG Chem has limited its production battery cells for EVs with limited staff in Holland.

Samsung SDI has a battery pack plant in Auburn Hills, and has temporarily suspended operations as local employees have been ordered to stay at home.

As the state order is valid for three weeks, both battery plants are expected to shut down for the next three weeks.

Meanwhile, the companies’ battery factories in Poland and Hungary are operating as usual.

By Song Su-hyun (