HONG KONG — Outsourcing giant Li & Fung confirmed Wednesday that several of its suppliers have halted production in Vietnam in the wake of widespread anti-Chinese unrest that has led mobs to ransack and set fire to factories.
Li & Fung, which sources goods for Wal-Mart Stores, Kohl’s, American Eagle Outfitters Inc. and others, said the production halts were a “precautionary” measure. No further information was available. Vietnam is the second largest sourcing country for Li & Fung, behind China, producing mainly softgoods.
One of the suppliers, Yue Yuen Industrial, the largest sports shoe maker and supplier to Nike among others, also confirmed that it suspended production. In a statement, a company spokesman said the company had told workers to take the day off. “No damage or physical incidents have occurred at our Vietnam factories. According to our sources the Vietnamese government is observing matters to ensure things do not get out of hand. We believe the situation will be calm down soon.”
No further information was available. Vietnam represents about one third of Yue Yuen’s production capacity by volume.
According to media reports, unruly mobs have attacked factories near Ho Chi Minh City, in southern Vietnam. The protests highlight growing tension with China over disputed South China Sea waters. The Vietnam government has protested the deployment of a giant Chinese oil rig in a contested part of the South China Sea near the Vietnamese coastline and some disputed islands. Dozens of Chinese ships reportedly rammed into and sprayed Vietnamese vessels with water cannons earlier this week.