China: Electronics and autos hope to overcome Chinese restrictions for now

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A new wave of Covid-19 restrictions has impacted production and port operations in parts of China, but Indian electronics and automakers who source components from China say the development will not have no impact on their business over the upcoming holiday season. Most companies said their imports from China had already reached Indian shores or were in transit, though they fear an impact later in the next quarter after the festive sales end.

Some, like German appliance brands Bosch and Siemens, are facing delays in shipments of high-end built-in appliances, microwave ovens, washing machines and dryers due to restrictions in China, and expect them to arrive a month late.

Neeraj Bahl, managing director of BSH Household Appliances India which makes Bosch and Siemens appliances, said shipments are ready but due to restrictions in China there are no liaison ships. “We could lose some festive sales, especially high-end models where supplies are affected,” he said. Apart from the disruption caused by the new Covid-19 restrictions, a heatwave in parts of China is also proving to be an additional challenge for manufacturers.

Ravi Bhatia, chairman of automotive industry consultancy Jato Dynamics, said China’s zero Covid policy requires special arrangements in production.

“Some factories in China were able to stay open during pandemic shutdowns through the use of ‘closed loop’ systems, where workers isolated themselves in factories in order to continue operations,” he said. “It’s not possible (now) because of the heat.”

China continues its zero Covid policy, locking down cities or districts, or imposing strict restrictions, hitting industrial production and impacting the global supply chain. The government has indefinitely extended the lockdown in Chengdu, an industrial city in western China where many Apple products are made. Electronics makers Foxconn and Compal, located in the Sichuan region of China, are impacted by the restrictions. The Shenzhen tech hub is also subject to some restrictions, and some recent media reports said “dozens of cities” in China are under full or partial lockdown.

For India’s upcoming festive season – starting at Navratri later this month and stretching to Diwali next month – the country’s automotive and electronics industries expect minimal supply disruption this year, unlike the last two years where supplies have not matched demand.

Godrej Appliances business manager Kamal Nandi said companies had planned their inventory well in advance to reduce risk from restrictions in China and therefore components for festive production are all in square.


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