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SARS Effects on Far East Operations

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TAIPEI, Taiwan (May 2) – Following Taiwan’s first significant outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Taiwan’s government on April 28 began imposing mandatory quarantine on all arrivals from Hong Kong, Macao, Vietnam, Singapore and Toronto, Canada. The World Health Organization (WHO) has also extended a travel warning to Taiwan in which the organization recommends […]

TAIPEI, Taiwan (May 2) – Following Taiwan’s first significant outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Taiwan’s government on April 28 began imposing mandatory quarantine on all arrivals from Hong Kong, Macao, Vietnam, Singapore and Toronto, Canada. The World Health Organization (WHO) has also extended a travel warning to Taiwan in which the organization recommends people postpone all but essential travel to Taipei, Taiwan.
Most Taiwanese bicycle companies manufacture in either China or Vietnam and several reported managers stranded by the sudden decision. Of several companies surveyed, most predicted that effects on business and operations will be minimal if the travel ban does not extend into the long term. Fairly Manufacturing, a bicycle assembler, had its general manager stranded. Component maker Sun Race Sturmey-Archer director of sales and marketing Alan Su said he is planning to tour Europe in early May “because our customers won’t come here (to Taiwan).” Taiwan’s third largest bicycle manufacturer, Ideal Bike Corp., adopted a similar strategy. On April 29, vice president Louis Chan was servicing customers in the US, while the company’s Taiwan headquarters said it was relying on video conferencing and other electronic communications to communicate with customers and the company’s factory in China’s hard hit Guangdong Province. “It’s mostly just inconvenient,” said Gary Lin, sales manager at Fairly’s Taiwan headquarters. Fairly has a factory in Shandong, China. “On both sides we’re just relying on telephones and email,” said Jimmy Tseng, general manager of the Taiwan frame maker Kinesis Industry Co. “But it’s not such a big deal.” But other companies say the travel ban is affecting operations. “We can continue operations as usual. That’s no problem. But to implement new changes is almost impossible,” said Su.
The quarantine measure was set to last at least two weeks, until May 11, at which time it will be reviewed and possibly extended. During that period, any foreign passport holder arriving from an infected areas will be quarantined for 10 days in either a designated hotel or a converted military base at the government’s expense. Hong Kong and Taiwan passport holders with will be given the option of home quarantine.(DF)

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