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Foxconn's biggest iPhone plants: one closed, one barely open


The impact of the coronavirus on Apple suppliers continues into a second week, with Foxconn’s biggest iPhone plants severely hit.

One plant has been banned from re-opening by the government, while only 10% of the company’s workforce has turned up to a second one …

Foxconn last week informed workers at its headquarters in Shenzhen that they should not return to work.

To safeguard everyone’s health and safety and comply with government virus prevention measures, we urge you not to return to Shenzhen,” Foxconn wrote in a text message sent to employees. “We’ll update you on the situation in the city. The company will protect everyone’s work-related rights and interests in the duration. As for the happy reunion date in Shenzhen, please wait for further notice.”

This was said to be due to the Chinese government banning the plant from reopening. The government issued a weird non-denial denial, stating that it wasn’t true while going on to say that checks were still being performed and that a date for resuming production would be announced soon.

Reuters report today says that Foxconn asked to resume production in Shenzhen today but was refused permission.

Taiwan’s Foxconn was not allowed to resume production in its plant in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen that had been shut due to the coronavirus outbreak, a person with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Monday […]

“Our request to resume production (in Shenzhen) was disapproved. We need to improve our virus control measures for another check,” said the person who declined to be identified because they are not authorised to speak publicly on the matter […]

Authorities in the manufacturing hub of Shenzhen will check the plant again later this week to ensure virus control measures are properly in place, the person said, adding that employees there were told not to return to work on Tuesday.

A separate report states that the company was given approval to restart production at its larger Zhengzhou facility. However, only 10% of the workforce has turned up.

Apple supplier Foxconn got approval to resume production at a key China plant after being forced to shut it following a coronavirus outbreak, but only 10% of the factory’s workforce has managed to return so far, a source told Reuters.

Foxconn, the world’s largest contract electronics maker, got the green light to restart production in the eastern central Chinese city of Zhengzhou, said the person with direct knowledge of the matter.

This is likely due to transport restrictions preventing workers returning to the city after visiting family for the Chinese new year.

It’s not just Foxconn’s biggest iPhone plants affected by the virus: Reuters reports that ‘company executives were trying very hard to negotiate with authorities to resume production in other parts of China, including Kunshan.’

Noted Apple analyst Ming Chi-Kuo had previously said that iPhone shipments might be reduced by 10% this quarter, an estimate today backed by Trendforce, which cut its forecast to 41M phones.

Within China itself, the impact is expected to be worse, because stores as well as factories are closed, meaning fewer opportunities to buy smartphones. It’s been estimated that smartphone sales in China this quarter could be halved.

Photo: Reuters/Bobby Yip

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