• Directory of Taiwan

Taiwan shoe giant Pou Chen suspends Myanmar production

Factories in Vietnam or Indonesia can step up output if necessary

Security forces in the streets of a Yangon neighborhood 

Security forces in the streets of a Yangon neighborhood  (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan’s Pou Chen Group, the largest branded athletic shoe manufacturer in the world, announced Tuesday (March 30) that it had suspended production in Myanmar following the military coup and brutal wave of repression in the Southeast Asian country.

Nevertheless, with only a small part of its global operations based in Myanmar, factories in Vietnam or Indonesia could make up for any shortfall, CNA reported.

Pou Chen, headquartered in Taichung, said it had temporarily shut down production for safety reasons. Protests against the coup have continued in Myanmar unabated, and the armed forces have used extreme violence to suppress the protesters, killing more than 100 people Saturday (March 27).

Management and essential staff are still maintaining the plant. According to company data, only 4 percent of its shoe production is supplied by its Myanmar, Cambodia, and Bangladesh factories combined.

In addition, the pandemic caused the group’s revenue from shoes to drop by 24.6 percent, or NT$45.57 billion (US$1.59 billion), from 2019 to 2020, CNA reported.

Pou Chen produces athletic and leisure shoes for a host of prominent brands, including Nike, Adidas, Puma, Crocs, New Balance, and Timberland.

The company said it would closely monitor developments in Myanmar before deciding whether or not to resume production.