Apple warns of delays for latest iPhone 14 models after Chinese locked down area surrounding huge factory over Covid fears
- Company said in announcement that the factory operating at ‘reduced capacity’
- Said that they now expect lower iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max shipments
- They said customers should expect longer wait times to receive new products
- Foxconn imposed virus prevention measures on factory following outbreak
Tech giant Apple has warned that the latest iPhone 14 models could be delayed after the area surrounding the huge factory in China was locked down over Covid fears.
In an announcement on Sunday, the company said that the factory operated by Foxconn in Zhengzhou is ‘operating at significantly reduced capacity.’
The company said: ‘We now expect lower iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max shipments than we previously anticipated.
‘Customers will experience longer wait times to receive their new products.’
Foxconn had earlier imposed anti-Covid measures on the factory after outbreaks of the virus.
Previously, Apple and Foxconn had not responded to questions about how iPhone production might be affected.
Access to the industrial zone where the factory is located was last week suspended for seven days after a surge in infection and the departure of workers from the factory.
It is expected that the plant will be further disrupted due to the lockdown, after seeing a spate of coronavirus infections and an exodus of workers in recent weeks.
Some of the workers who left the factory had fled the area on foot.
In an announcement on Sunday, the company said that the factory operated by Foxconn in Zhengzhou is ‘operating at significantly reduced capacity.’ Pictured: Customers shop at an Apple Store in Beijing on the first day of sale for the iPhone 14
The company said: ‘We now expect lower iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max shipments than we previously anticipated. ‘Customers will experience longer wait times to receive their new products.’ Pictured: People walk past an Apple store in Taipei today
In a statement, Foxconn said that it is revising its outlook for this quarter downward due to the lockdown.
The company said: ‘Foxconn is now working with the government in a concerted effort to stamp out the pandemic and resume production to its full capacity as quickly as possible.’
It also said that the provincial government has said it will ‘fully support’ Foxconn in managing the plant’s pandemic prevention and operation situation.
On the Zhengzhou plant’s WeChat social media account yesterday, the company posted that a ‘closed loop’ system would restrict its employees travel between their dormitories and the factory area to manage risks of COVID-19 transmission.
Typically, the last quarter of the year is a busy season for companies such as Foxconn as they ramp up production ahead of the end of year holiday rush.
Apple said: ‘We are working closely with our supplier to return to normal production levels while ensuring the health and safety of every worker.’
In a statement, Foxconn said that it is revising its outlook for this quarter downward due to the lockdown. The company said: ‘Foxconn is now working with the government in a concerted effort to stamp out the pandemic and resume production to its full capacity as quickly as possible.’ Pictured: The Foxconn factory in May (file image)
It also said that the provincial government has said it will ‘fully support’ Foxconn in managing the plant’s pandemic prevention and operation situation. Pictured: People walk past an Apple store in Taipei today
It comes after more than 600,000 people were last week ordered to stay in their homes in Zhengzhou after the city reported 64 virus cases, in the latest draconian move by the ‘Zero Covid’ Communist Party termed ‘silent management’ by authorities.
The order came after workers who assemble iPhones at a facility run by Taiwanese tech giant Foxconn, which employs hundreds of thousands of workers, were seen breaking out of the factory.
The campus had been operating under a ‘closed-loop management’ system in which employees sleep, live and work isolated from the wider world at the factory.
But employees had been complaining of poor conditions, saying people who tested positive received no treatment and the company failed to stop the spread of the virus.
Workers who assemble iPhones at a facility run by Taiwanese tech giant Foxconn were seen breaking out of the factory
The campus had been operating under a ‘closed-loop management’ system in which employees sleep, live and work isolated from the wider world at the factory
Footage shows staff walking along motorways dragging suitcases after fleeing on foot to avoid Covid transport curbs.
Foxconn said it was testing employees daily and keeping them in the ‘closed loop’ as well as offering transport to those who wanted to leave, after the videos emerged.
The company said ill employees were being treated but did not say if new infections still were occurring.
Local governments in the area surrounding Zhengzhou city have asked Foxconn workers to register with authorities if they return home and to complete several days of quarantine upon arrival.
The company added it would quadruple bonuses for employees willing to remain at the factory during the outbreak.
Foxconn, formally Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd, is Apple’s biggest iPhone maker, producing 70 per cent of iPhone shipments globally.
Footage shows staff walking along motorways dragging suitcases after fleeing on foot to avoid Covid transport curb
Workers who assemble Apple iPhones left their factory in Zhengzhou following outbreaks
It makes most of the phones at the Zhengzhou plant where it employs about 200,000 people, though it has other smaller production sites in India and south China.
In Zhengzhou, everyone in the industrial zone will be tested every day for the coronavirus, the Airport District said.
The ‘silent management’ measures include barring all residents from going out and only allowing approved vehicles on the roads.
Visitors to Shanghai Disneyland were also temporarily barred from leaving as part of virus testing.
Thousands of employees left the Foxconn Technology Group factory starting in mid-October after complaints people who contracted the virus received no treatment
The city health agency said visitors tested negative and were allowed to leave.
All people except Covid-prevention volunteers and essential workers ‘must not leave their residences except to receive Covid tests and emergency medical treatment’, officials from central China’s Zhengzhou Airport Economy Zone said last week.
China is the last major economy committed to a zero-Covid strategy, persisting with snap lockdowns, mass testing and lengthy quarantines in a bid to stamp out emerging outbreaks.
But new variants have tested local officials’ ability to snuff out flare-ups faster than they can spread, causing much of the country to live under an ever-changing mosaic of Covid curbs.
Areas throughout China tightened restrictions on movement and cancelled airline flights last month after new infections surged following the week-long National Day holiday.
Also this week, visitors to Shanghai Disneyland were temporarily barred from leaving as part of virus testing (pictured November 1)
Security members check a vehicle entering Disney Resort amid Covid-19 lockdown
A man gets tested for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at a nucleic acid testing site in Shanghai on November 1
Residents of many parts of the Xinjiang region in the north west were barred from leaving their homes in August and September.
People in Urumqi and other cities who said they had run out of food and medicine posted appeals for help on social media.
The district in Zhengzhou city said last week that all businesses would be required to work from home, with only ‘key enterprises’ in the district allowed to continue operating, without specifying which businesses fell under this category.
Only medical vehicles and those delivering essentials are allowed on the streets.
The district’s more than 600,000 residents will have to take nucleic acid tests every day, the local government said, warning that it would ‘resolutely crack down on all kinds of violations.’
China reported more than 2,000 fresh domestic infections last week for the third day in a row.
Henan province, where Zhengzhou is located, officially reported 359 Covid-19 infections, a jump from the previous 104.
The southern Chinese manufacturing hub of Guangzhou also announced partial lockdowns in several districts this week in response to rising case numbers.
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