Apple Inc.’s biggest main production partner, Foxconn Technology Group, has brought the world’s largest iPhone plant to about 90 per cent of anticipated peak capacity, as reported by news agency Bloomberg. This suggests Foxconn has secured enough workers despite a Covid resurgence and recent staff upheaval.
According to the report, Foxconn’s plant in the central Chinese city of Zhengzhou is now operating with roughly 200,000 employees, the official Henan Daily reported, citing Foxconn executive Vic Wang. That is about the normal staffing level, based on previous reports.
As of December 30, the facility was shipping at 90 per cent of the peak capacity forecast at the start of last year, the representative said.
The factory’s speedy bounce-back bodes well for production of Apple’s marquee product in the run-up to the Lunar New Year shopping season. A nationwide Covid flare-up after Beijing abruptly dropped most Covid Zero-era curbs had clouded the prospects for manufacturers like Foxconn, which require armies of workers to keep factories humming.
The recent outbreak followed weeks of turmoil at the Zhengzhou plant known as iPhone City, which produces the vast majority of high-end iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max devices.
Thousands of workers fled or staged protests against extreme Covid curbs in November — a movement that reverberated across the country. Foxconn ended most of those restrictions last month and ramped up incentives for both new and existing employees.
The company has been grappling with strict Covid curbs that have fuelled discontent among workers over conditions at the factory. Output of the Apple device was disrupted ahead of Christmas and January’s Lunar New Year holidays, with many employees either having to isolate to combat the spread of the virus or fleeing the plant.
After the last November unrest that saw workers clash with security personnel, Foxconn’s production hampered massively. Foxconn hasn’t disclosed details of the impact of the disruption on its production plans or finances.
That unprecedented disruption in turn stoked concerns about iPhone production over the critical holiday period. Apple at one point stood to lose close to 6 million units of iPhone production as a result of that upheaval.