Longi denies rumors about factory closures in Southeast Asia

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Longi has denied it plans to shut down some of its manufacturing facilities in Southeast Asia, in response to rumors on several Chinese social media platforms.

The company said it will not gradually shut down its panel factory in Malaysia, nor will it cease operations at five production lines in Vietnam. It also said that the the sale to Yingfa Group of two cell production lines, including equipment and facilities, has been put on hold.

“We are moving in a complex environment,” a Longi spokesperson told pv magazine. “Based on our insights and assessments of key factors in the global photovoltaic market and policies, and in order to promote an agile manufacturing model, the company continues to drive digital upgrades and technological transformations at its global factories. This has resulted in adjustments to production plans at different regional bases.”

Longi said that is taking various measures such as “cross-base support and rotating shifts to minimize the impact of production plan adjustments on employees and to ensure their legal rights are protected.” The company claimed that it will “appropriately adjust production arrangements based on market changes and the progress of its equipment upgrades and renovations.”

Longi's production adjustments in Southeast Asia are not isolated incidents. Several Chinese PV companies with investments in countries such as Vietnam, Malaysia, and Thailand are rumored to be adjusting capacity or halting production. This is due to current overcapacity and high inventory levels in the industry, but also to the US Department of Commerce's announcement on May 16 of anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations into crystalline silicon PV cells from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam.

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The US government is expected to make a preliminary countervailing duty ruling by July 18, 2024, and a preliminary anti-dumping ruling by Oct. 1, 2024.

During a media briefing this week, Longi President Li Zhenguo addressed the rumors, stating that they were “untrue.” He noted that the US government's determination to bring manufacturing back to domestic shores is clear. Given the uncertainties in the geopolitical environment and trade protection trends, Longi will continue to prudently assess its production arrangements, but “has not yet made a final decision.”

In March, Longi revealed plans to reduce its global workforce due to an “increasingly competitive environment” in the solar industry. “In order to adapt to market changes and improve organizational efficiency, Longi is optimizing its workforce,” a company spokesperson told pv magazine at the time. “The expected job reduction rate is about 5% of total employees, and the information circulating online about our company's ‘30% layoff' plan is false.”

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