Work to start up production at a Corning Inc. plant in Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus (formerly called coronavirus), remains on hold until conditions and government restrictions change, company officials said.
The Wuhan facility, part of Corning’s Display Technologies business, is a new facility that was only beginning to start up production when the outbreak began, according to company spokesman Joseph Dunning. Display Technologies makes screens for televisions and similar products.
“Following the traditional Chinese New Year holiday break and in light of the travel restrictions, quarantines, and recommendations of the local government, our work at the Wuhan facility will continue only when restrictions are lifted and in accordance with our customer’s production plans,” Dunning told The Leader. “At that time, per our ramp plan, we will continue to take the necessary steps to bring the plant online.”
He noted that Corning Inc.’s other operations in China continue, though with accommodations for the ongoing health situation.
“Overall, a vast majority of our employees in China have resumed work, and company facilities are operating following the extended Lunar New Year holiday,” Dunning said. “Where possible, some employees are working from home as a precaution to limit their exposure to COVID-19.”
He said health and safety of employees remains the top priority.
“Our medical, security, and business teams are monitoring the situation carefully, communicating regularly with our employees, and staying close to local authorities about resuming work and specific health and safety requirements ,” Dunning said.
In terms of the overall effect of the COVID-19 virus in China on customers and Corning’s own supply chain, the company was more guarded in its response.
Other large manufacturers in the tech sector, including Apple and Nintendo, have publicly acknowledged that supply interruptions in China have hindered operations. Apple is a significant buyer of glass from Corning’s Specialty Materials unit, known for tough cover glass for smartphone displays.
The situation is “fluid” regarding Corning’s customers in China and the company’s supply chain, Dunning said.
“We remain in close contact with our customers and suppliers so that we can fully address conditions and requirements, and effectively manage supply conditions together to maximize efficiencies,” Dunning said. “As more information becomes available, we will update stakeholders accordingly.”