Employees Escape COVID-19 Lockdown at Foxconn Plant in China, Could Lead To iPhone 14 Shortage

Apple has warned its customers that there could be a delay in new iPhone 14 shipments as strict COVID-19 lockdown measures are being enforced at the world's largest iPhone factory in Zhengzhou, China.

Credit: AFP

The factory, which is operated by the Taiwanese electronics maker Foxconn, reportedly houses around 200,000 employees, all of whom have been prohibited from leaving the facility after it was put on a "closed-loop" system to curb the outbreak. This, however, hasn't stopped a number of employees from fleeing, with viral videos showing them climbing barbed wire fences and walking mile-long highways to go home.


The workers in an interview said they were forced to live in poor living conditions and food was close to running low. Foxconn has not disclosed the number of employees that have since fled, nor has it disclosed the number of infected that are in quarantine at the factory. Apple did say, though, that its iPhone supplier is "operating at significantly reduced capacity”. As to what that means, it's not entirely clear as the Cupertino tech giant did not share any other details.


"We continue to see strong demand for iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max models," said Apple in a statement. "However, we now expect lower iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max shipments than we previously anticipated."

In an attempt to persuade employees to stay in the factory, Foxconn is said to be now upping bonuses by up to four times.


According to some reports, the daily bonuses for workers responsible for the production of certain electronics, including smartphones, are up to 400 yuan this November, which is quadruple that of the 100 yuan they were receiving previously. Meanwhile, those who work for more than 25 days in a month could be eligible to receive the maximum bonus of 5,000 yuan, which is significantly higher than the old maximum of 1,500 yuan.


On average, Foxconn employees make between 3,000 and 4,000 yuan (approximately US$413 to US$550) per month.


Chinese health authorities last week imposed a seven-day lockdown of the area around Foxconn’s factory after a surge of infections was detected in Zhengzhou. Foxconn said it would fully support the provincial government’s lockdown measures and hopes to return to full production as quickly as possible.

 
  • Apple has warned its customers that there could be a delay in new iPhone 14 shipments as strict COVID-19 lockdown measures are being enforced at its supplier Foxconn's factory in Zhengzhou, China.

  • The factory houses around 200,000 employees, all of whom have been prohibited from leaving the facility after it was put on a "closed-loop" system to curb the outbreak.

  • This, however, hasn't stopped a number of the employees from fleeing, with viral videos showing them climbing barbed wire fences and walking mile-long highways to get back home.

  • In an attempt to persuade employees to stay in the factory, Foxconn is said to be now upping bonuses by up to four times.

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