Global Companies Restrict Operations in Korea

  • By Sung Ho-chul

    February 25, 2020 12:23

    Global companies with branch offices in Korea are restricting their operations here or have even closed their offices temporarily.

    Intel, the world's top semiconductor company, in a video conference with executives in Seoul on Sunday, the day the Korean government raised a red alert for coronavirus, decided to ask all staff in its Seoul offices to work from home this week.

    Intel Korea has a staff of 150 to 200 at offices in Yeouido and Samseong-dong, Seoul. An Intel staffer said the period can be extended depending on new developments.

    A quarantine worker screens people with a thermal camera at City Hall in Seoul on Tuesday. /Yonhap

    Microsoft and Airbnb have also told their Korean staff to work from home. "Only a few staff came to the office today and went home immediately after finishing urgent business," a Microsoft Korea executive said on Monday.

    Google and Facebook in messages on Sunday and Monday urged staff in their Korean offices to work from home if at all possible.

    Some foreign companies already started canceling their executives' business trips to Korea two to three weeks ago. A branch office staffer of an American company said, "Executives at our headquarters in the U.S. have canceled trips to Korea for one reason or another since late last month. None have come for the past three weeks."

    "I was supposed to attend two or three meetings in the U.S. and Singapore but was told that the meetings were canceled," said a staffer of another foreign company.

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