|No thanks to Galaxy Note 7, it won't be a very merry Christmas in these parts.|
However, what we instead have is whiplash from the Galaxy Note 7 being discontinued due to safety concerns. Anecdotes about slowing activity are emerging from areas surrounding Samsung's factory town:
"The factory used to be so busy toward the end of the year, and the workers wouldn't come out until night," Nguyen Van Loi says as evening falls and employees shuffle out. He has been selling fruit here for six years, but his sales this month are down 30% from October.Worse may be in store:
Just over a month has passed since Samsung halted production of the Galaxy Note 7 after a number of phones' batteries caught fire. Some workers at the Bac Ninh plant, which employs some 110,000 people, have been told to stay home. Others have seen their pay fall by half owing to a loss of overtime. "My pay has gone down by 40-50%," says Nguyen Thi Kieu Anh, a 19-year-old assembly line worker. She and other workers say they have been going home three hours earlier, at 5 p.m., since production of the Note 7 ended in mid-October.
While the factory appears to have been spared layoffs so far, those consigned to waiting at home have had their pay reduced by 70%, employees say. New hiring to ready for the typical year-end rush also appears to have been halted. Nguyen Van Chien, who runs a nearby boarding house, said he now has 30 roomers compared with 50 last year. With his income down by a third, he is finding it hard to make ends meet, he said.It's going to be a lonely Christmas near Vietnam's manufacturing operations. For what it's worth, though, less than a tenth of its population is Christian, so Samsung's ill-timed lump of coal may matter less.