Whether the shoes on your feet are Nike or adidas, there’s a good chance they were made in Vietnam. The coastal country is home to factory facilities for Yue Yuen Industrial Holdings, a major Taiwanese-owned footwear manufacturer with worldwide reach and headquarters in Hong Kong. The Vietnam-based Yue Yuen factory is among many foreign-owned factories in Vietnam that are currently receiving resistance from local protesters. The unrest derives from Chinese oil drilling in a section of the South China Sea claimed by Vietnam.
The South China Sea has been a point of tension for years, with the spotting of Chinese oil rigs in recently claimed Vietnam territory sparking riot and civil unrest earlier this week. Chinese-owned factories in Vietnam were targeted with what appears to be both violent and non-violent protest, resulting in damage to many buildings and factory shutdowns. Taiwanese footwear company Yue Yuen elected to halt production in factories across Vietnam and give employees the day off, stating that there’s been no damage to their facilities and no harm to their employees. At the moment, rioting seems to have ceased and no casualties have been reported.
What does this mean for sneakerheads? Yue Yuen produced over 313 million pairs of shoes last year, ranging from said brands to the likes of Under Armour, Reebok, ASICS, PUMA, Crocs, New Balance, Timberland and Rockport. Based on the laws of supply and demand, a shortage in sneakers could cause a spike in price, though that appears to early to fret about. Obviously, there are bigger issues at hand than the production of sneakers, namely country conflict due to the pursuit of oil and employee benefits abroad. Hopefully all discrepancies can be solved in a civil and just manner.