SEOUL/GUMI-- Samsung Electronics Co. briefly halted operations of its smartphone production line and had all workers evacuate after a 5.4-magnitude earthquake hit the nearby port city of Pohang on Wednesday.
The quake occurred at around 2:29 p.m. some 9 kilometers north of Pohang, according to the Korea Meteorological Administration. Samsung's factory is located in Gumi, just north of Pohang.
The tech company suspended the operations for 30 minutes and had the 6,500 staff leave the building immediately, it said.
The suspension led to a delay in the assembling of some 500-600 smartphones, Samsung said. The production line makes little plastic case frames that are inserted in Galaxy phones and tablets.
LG Electronics Inc. and LG Display Co., which also run production lines in the same city, did not evacuate the staff as the impact from the tremors was limited. Only a part of the facilities were put to halt for a short while.
Samsung said it is currently looking into the situation at its chip production facilities located in Gyeonggi Province. The company is the world's No. 1 manufacturer of computer chips.
South Korea's No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix Inc. said its lines located in Gyeonggi and North Chungcheong Province are all operating normally.
Officials from the companies said while some production machines ceased operation automatically after sensing the earthquake, they immediately resumed normal operation.
South Korea's top steel maker POSCO, based in Pohang, said it experienced no damage from the earthquake so far. The company is conducting inspections to ensure safety, it added.
Samsung and SK hynix experienced a temporary suspension of chip production in September last year when a more powerful quake struck near Gyeongju south of Pohang.
Source: Yonhap News Agency