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Part of a ZDNet Special Feature: Coronavirus: Business and technology in a pandemic

Samsung engineers allowed into China chip plant despite COVID-19 foreigner ban

China has allowed the entry of around 200 Samsung engineers into the country for the expansion of its Xi'an semiconductor plant.

China has allowed the entry of around 200 Samsung Electronics engineers into the country, making an exception to its barring of foreigners during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The engineers arrived in Xi'an, China on Wednesday and were sent to work at the tech giant's semiconductor plant that is based there, Samsung confirmed.

They have been airlifted to the city via a designated Air China plane, a spokesperson said.

The engineers will be quarantined for a period ranging from one week to two depending on what Chinese authorities deem to be necessary before allowing them to enter the plant to work on its planned expansion.

China announced that it had barred foreigners from entering the country on March 28 due to concerns over the possible resurgence of the novel coronavirus.

Since then, the Chinese and South Korean governments have negotiated to make exceptions for South Korean companies who have facilities there.

LG Display and SK Hynix also have factories in China and are also expected to be allowed entry as well.

The first factory within Samsung's Xi'an plant, which began operations in 2014, produces memory chips. Samsung also invested $7 billion into building a second factory in 2017. Following the creation of these two factories, Samsung then announced in 2019 that it would put an additional $8 billion into further expanding the second factory.

Last month, Samsung engineers were allowed entry into Vietnam without the need to be quarantined to prevent delays in the company's production schedule of OLED display modules.

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