Just when Samsung may have thought that it would only be minimally affected by the coronavirus (opens in new tab), it was forced to shut down one of its factories in South Korea.
While the coronavirus has mainly affected China, infecting over 77,000 people, the number of cases has surged in many other places in the world. Currently, South Korea is the second most affected country with a total of 833 cases of the coronavirus - one of which was located at a Samsung factory.
The case forced Samsung to temporarily shut down the factory, located in Gumi, near the southeastern city of Daegu. The response was swift: Samsung promptly shut down the factory, which reopened early Monday morning. The floor on which the employee was working on remains closed off. The company also told Reuters that colleagues who came into contact with the infected employee have been placed in self-quarantine and are being tested for the coronavirus.
Samsung concentrates its production in India and Vietnam, so the Gumi factory is not responsible for a huge portion of the production of Samsung products. This makes a major disruption unlikely - but with the ever-growing threat of the coronavirus on the horizon, there's likely to be more factory shutdowns for companies like Samsung.
Looking forward: How will the coronavirus impact the phone industry?
The coronavirus has already hit Apple pretty hard: the tech giant depends on factories in China, and has already cut its sales expectations for the quarter because of factory shutdowns and store closings.
Experts project that Apple won't be hit the hardest and that Huawei, the second-biggest phone manufacturer worldwide, is likely to be. Why? Because Huawei relies heavily on manufacturing and consumers in China. While the company has played coy about current coronavirus impact numbers, stating that there would be no impact on its supply in the near future, experts remain skeptical.
Supply-chain analytics provider TrendForce issued a report (opens in new tab) forecasting the potential impact of the coronavirus on the tech industry. One of the biggest takeaways? That smartphone production overall is expected to decline 12% year-on-year this quarter.
Until we see a greater impact of the coronavirus on the tech industry, you'll find no shortage of the best smartphones (opens in new tab), best touch screen monitors (opens in new tab), and the best fitness trackers (opens in new tab) on the market in stores and online.