News / Asia

    GM Seeks Alternative Supplies in China After Deadly Factory Blast

    Medical personnel transport a victim of a factory explosion at a hospital in Kunshan, Jiangsu province, August 2, 2014.
    Medical personnel transport a victim of a factory explosion at a hospital in Kunshan, Jiangsu province, August 2, 2014.
    Reuters

    General Motors said on Sunday that it had asked its main Chinese supplier to find an alternative source of components after an explosion ripped through a factory a day earlier, killing at least 69 people.

    The accident at the Zhongrong Metal Products Co. Ltd. plant in Kunshan city, about 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) southeast of Beijing, in the eastern province of Jiangsu.

    It is China's worst industrial accident in a year, since a fire at a poultry plant killed 119 people in June last year.

    Aside from the fatalities, some 200 people were injured in the blast, state-run Xinhua news agency reported on Sunday, raising its casualty estimate from overnight.

    Dangerous dust levels

    Chinese investigators faulted poor safety measures for the explosion at the  auto parts factory, with news reports Sunday revealing that workers had long complained of dangerous levels of dust and inadequate cleaning practices at the facility, The Associated Press reported.

    City officials said metal dust produced from polishing steel hubcaps ignited Saturday morning, causing an explosion that destroyed almost the entire roof of the plant, according to the AP. More than 200 workers were at the factory at the time of the blast.
     
    The metallic dust stuck to the skin of workers, burning between 50 and 90 percent of their bodies, Liu Wei, deputy chief of the health bureau in the city, told the AP.

    According to Zhongrong's website, the factory made wheels that are supplied to GM and many other carmakers.

    Distancing itself from Zhongrong, the Detroit automaker issued a statement saying it bought components from a company called "Dicastal" - which Zhongrong works with.

    GM went on to say it had no direct dealings with Zhongrong, which it described as a "Tier-2" supplier.

    Tier-1 component suppliers such as Dicastal are "required to source from Tier-2 suppliers who must meet both in-country environment and safety standards as well as quality standards," GM said.

    The U.S. automaker noted that Saturday's accident did not cause any immediate impact on its production because it has "sufficient inventory" of the parts, without specifying what the components were.

    "We are working with our supplier to establish alternate processing capability," the statement said.

    GM statement

    The GM statement said it was "too early to determine the cause of the explosion" as an official investigation was underway.

    "We will closely monitor the investigation and, if asked, will provide any resources and information that can assist in this matter," GM said.

    The blast was reported to have taken place in a workshop that polishes wheel hubs. A preliminary investigation suggested it was triggered when a flame was lit in a dust-filled room, the local government said on Saturday, describing the incident as a serious safety breach.

    Xinhua reported that police took at least two company representatives into custody.

    GM described Dicastal as one of its "global suppliers," but did not provide any further information on the company.

    Asked if that Dicastal was Citic Dicastal Wheel Manufacturing Co., Ltd., a producer of aluminum alloy wheels headquartered in the eastern province of Hebei and a unit of Beijing-based Citic Group, a GM spokeswoman in Shanghai said she did not have any information.

    She also said she had no information on whether GM conducts safety inspections of production facilities run by lower-tier suppliers with which they do not do business with directly.

    Some information for this report provided by AP.

    You May Like

    Turkey, US Splits Deepen Over Support for Kurdish Militants

    Ankara summons American ambassador to protest remarks by State Department spokesman who said Washington does not consider Syria's Kurdish Democracy Union Party (PYD) a terrorist organization

    Obama Seeking $19 Billion for National Cybersecurity

    Move, touted as attempt to build broad, cohesive federal response to cyberthreats, calls for increase in cybersecurity spending across all government agencies

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire, who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.