iPhone 14 production suffers as Covid cases surge again in China

Grappling with sever shortage of tech manpower, Apple has also started a recruitment drive at its Zhengzhou plant with promise of doling out bonus of 500 yuan ($69) to each worker on their return to the factory after they left between October 10 and November 5

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Cupertino (US): Those aspiring to by latest iPhone 14 Pro or iPhone Pro Max may have to wait for some time as the Apple’s assembly factory in China is currently operating at a significantly low staff strength, reports said.

The situation aggravated further after the state agency imposed a week-long lockdown in the district home to Foxconn’s iPhone factory, which is the world’s largest set up, starting November 2, owing to sudden surge in Covid cases, a company official said.

A few cases of Covid19 were also detected inside the factory, prompting a sudden shutdown that led to workers fleeing the premises. Grappling with sever shortage of technical manpower, the company has also started a recruitment drive at its Zhengzhou plant. A bonus amount of 500 yuan ($69) is being offered to each worker on return to the factory after they left between October 10 and November 5.

The company has also announced to increase the remuneration to technical staff by 30 yuan per hour as incentive, according to a statement posted on Apple’s recruitment WeChat account.

On Sunday, China reported 5,643 new Covid infections, which is highest daily incidents in six months. Zhengzhou, where the Foxconn factory is located, is the capital of Henan province in central China and is home to about 10 million people. The city has recorded 3,683 cases and 22 deaths on Monday.

“As we have done throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we are prioritising the health and safety of the workers in our supply chain,” said Apple in an a statement made in line with China’s commitment to zero Covid in the country.

“We continue to see strong demand for iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max models. However, we now expect lower iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max shipments than we previously anticipated and customers will experience longer wait times to receive their new products,” the statement further said.

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The Beijing’s commitment to drive out Covid completely comes with huge economic cost, trade analysts say. They hardly expect any major relief in lifting of the Covid curbs, as the country’s premier Xi Jinping has personally endorsed the policy.

China’s recent report on domestic industries shows the world’s second-largest economy struggling to cope with prolonged challenges posed by persistent Covid restrictions. This has also led to slump in property prices and impact the real estate sector as well very badly and exposed the country having the impact of a global recession.

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The country’s trade balance is also facing serious issues. According to an official statement released on Monday, imports and exports of China has contracted unexpectedly in October. “It the first slump since May 2020. Outbound shipments for the month dropped 0.3 per cent from a year earlier which is in stark contrast to a 5.7% gain in September. It was the worst performance since May 2020,” explained an analyst.

Foxconn, the world’s largest contract electronic maker, which accounts for 70% of iPhone shipments globally, has revised down its fourth quarter outlook due to China’s Covid control measures. The fourth quarter is usually a busy time for the tech company as demand for electronics rises ahead of the year-end holiday season in the West.

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