China is preventing foreigners to cross the border into the country due to COVID-19 concerns. These restrictions have been established on March 28, but in spite of the COVID-19 lockdown, the Chinese government is making an exception for roughly 200 Samsung engineers destined for Xi’an.Samsung’s employees have arrived in the country via a designated Air China plane, according to reports. The engineers will be quarantined for one-to-two weeks, after which they will be allowed to join the company’s Xi’an operations and contribute to Samsung’s expansion plans. Similarly, hundreds of Samsung Display employees have been allowed to enter Vietnam amid the COVID-19 lockdown earlier this week.Samsung’s Xi’an chip plant began operations in 2014 and reports from three months ago revealed the facility was working according to schedule despite the COVID-19 outbreak. The first round of investment for the second expansion phase concluded in March, while the second round of investment should be completed in the second half of 2021, assuming COVID-19 won’t change that.Samsung is gearing up to face competition from Chinese firmsIn recent news, Samsung’s memory business is facing competition from Chinese firm Yangtze Memory Technologies who’s been making strides in 128-layer 3D NAND flash memory chip development.Nevertheless, Samsung remains one step ahead and it’s now developing the industry’s first 160-layer or higher NAND flash memory chips. So far, Samsung remains the world’s only chipmaker to develop 160-layer memory solutions.The company’s semiconductor business appears to be playing a big role in its earnings during these times of economic uncertainty. While smartphone sales have dropped worldwide in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, chip sales have maintained a relatively steady course. It only makes sense for Samsung to want to keep the momentum going and continue strenghtening its Xi’an operations.