SEOUL, May 18 (Yonhap) — Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong visited the company’s chip factory in China to assess an expansion plan following the country’s reopening of its economy amid a slowdown in coronavirus infections, the company said Monday.

Lee, the de facto leader of South Korea’s top conglomerate, inspected Samsung Electronics’ chip plant in Xian, some 1,000 kilometers southwest of Beijing, and encouraged workers there trying to overcome the fallout from the pandemic.

“To secure new growth engines, we need to be preemptive and be prepared for forthcoming changes,” Lee said in comments provided by the company. “We have no time and we cannot lose this moment.”
   South Korea and China began to operate a fast-track entry system this month, which exempts business travelers from 14-day mandatory isolation, in a move to help minimize the fallout from entry curbs prompted by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Lee, the only son of bedridden Samsung chief Lee Kun-hee, reportedly received a virus test upon his entry to China, according to sources.

The Xian plant is Samsung’s only foreign memory chip factory. The South Korean tech giant last year revealed it will invest an additional US$8 billion in the plant and sent some 200 engineers last month for the expansion of the second Xian plant.

This is Lee’s first overseas business trip since January when he visited Brazil. Lee previously visited the Xian plant in February last year.