China choking off semiconductor supply with draconian lockdown that makes no sense based on their own data

A drastic lockdown is shutting down semiconductor production in the Chinese city of Xian, where China acknowledges a mere total of 1,000 cases (not hospitalizations or deaths) during the current outbreak in a city with a population of 13 million.  By comparison, New York City, with a population of 8 million, had 40,856 cases on December 30 and a 7-day average of 28,808 cases per day.

Last week:

Xi'an rolled out city-wide testing and placed its 13 million residents under a strict lockdown last week, closing schools, public venues and transportation except essential services like supermarkets and hospitals. Residents were banned from leaving their homes except for urgent reasons such as medical emergencies. (snip)

"Can anyone save me?" a user asked. "I'm about to starve at home. There was no one taking my orders online ... Please help me. It's OK if it's expensive, I just want to have some groceries. I'm desperate."

Hazmat-suited patrols are on the deserted streets and are delivering emergency food supplies:

State broadcaster CCTV aired a story today showing building staff assembling free grocery deliveries for the residents of an apartment complex in Xi'an.

The deliveries included a box of 15 eggs, a 2.5kg bag of rice and some green vegetables.

Residents could also expect either some chicken or pork, it said.

YouTube screen grab.

YouTube screen grab.


CNN Business reports on the shutdown of semiconductor production in Xian and its global supply chain implications.

Two of the world's biggest chipmakers are warning that Covid-19 outbreaks and stringent lockdowns in a major Chinese industrial hub are hampering their operations.

Samsung and Micron said this week that they've had to adjust operations in the northwestern city of Xi'an, which is experiencing one of China's worst community outbreaks of the coronavirus pandemic. Authorities have responded by enacting sweeping measures with an intensity and on a scale rarely seen since Wuhan, the pandemic's original epicenter.

Any slowdown in output from the city risks worsening the global chip shortage, an ongoing crisis that has limited the supply of everything from iPhones to new cars.

Samsung said Wednesday that it had to "temporarily adjust operations" in Xi'an. The South Korean giant added that protecting its workers in the city remains its "top priority," and that it plans to take "all necessary measures, including leveraging our global manufacturing network, to ensure that our customers are not affected."

My guess is that the outbreak is far worse than China is reporting and that the cases are far worse than the mild cold-like symptoms reported by most omicron sufferers.  I doubt that the drastic and expensive lockdown is mere theatre.  China, home to the Wuhan virus, knows more about it than we do in all likelihood.  With the semiconductor lockdown, they are only encouraging the re-shoring of semiconductor production in countries like the United States, South Korea, and Japan.

But we can't rule out sabotage of offshore production of finished products like automobiles, where lack of chips can shut down an entire factory.

Is a worse variant than delta rampaging in Xian?  We can't rule that out, either.

And we know that we can't trust the Chinese media to tell us the truth if it would reflect badly on the Chinese Communist Party.

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