Korean tech giant Samsung Electronics recently reported that its manpower in China had decreased dramatically since its peak in 2013.
As per a report on July 7 by BusinessKorea, Samsung’s number of workers in the second world economy in 2021 was only 17,820, representing a sharp decrease of 70.46% from the highest point of 63,316 in 2013.
This figure has been falling for years, even before the THAAD dispute when China launched a trade boycott of Korea as it opposed its missile defense alliance with the United States in 2016.
In 2014, under 60,000 people worked for Samsung in China. The number dropped by 10,000 the following year and never exceeded the 40,000 thresholds in 2016 and 2017.
Following the trade standoff between the U.S. and China, the number decreased further, remaining under 30,000 in 2018 and reaching 20,649 in 2019. Data by the company’s Sustainability Report in late June showed that the figure dropped to 18,099 and 17,820, respectively, in 2020 and 2021.
Business Korea added that Samsung has also been scaling back its production in China, including the termination of a communication plant in Shenzhen and a smartphone plant in Tianjin in 2018. In addition, Samsung continued to remove its last smartphone production base in Huizhou city in 2019 and the PC production facilities in Suizhou city in 2020.
The outlet said these factories had been relocated to Vietnam and India. At present, Samsung only has three production facilities in China. According to the outlet, one is a home appliance facility in Suizhou city, another is a chip back-end processing unit, and the third base is a memory chip plant in Xian.
In terms of what has drawn Samsung away from China for its production, the report gave four answers: high-rate tariffs from the U.S.-China trade war, domestic demand-oriented policies, increasing labor costs, and China’s pandemic policies.
It is anticipated that Samsung will gradually withdraw investment in the country’s semiconductor and home appliance manufacturing sites.