Apple Supplier Foxconn Says Coronavirus Outbreak Won’t Affect Production

With the coronavirus spreading fast across China and claiming 106 lives so far at the time of writing, Apple supplier Foxconn has said that the outbreak won’t affect production.

A new report from The Verge states that while Foxconn is based in Taiwan, it has more than one million employees in mainland China across a dozen factories, making it by far the country’s largest private employer and a major part of the tech industry’s supply chain.

Analysts have speculated that Apple, which manufactures nearly all of its iPhones in China, could be significantly impacted by the outbreak, though Foxconn said it’s not concerned about any slowdowns.

“Foxconn is closely monitoring the current public health challenge linked to the coronavirus and we are applying all recommended health and hygiene practices to all aspects of our operations in the affected markets,” the company says. “Our facilities in China are following holiday schedules and will continue to do so until all businesses have resumed standard operating hours.”

The statement is referring to the Chinese government’s extension of the Lunar New Year holiday, an attempt to mitigate the spread of the virus by encouraging citizens to stay home and avoid travel.

“As a matter of policy and for reasons of commercial sensitivity, we do not comment on our specific production practices,” the company adds, “but we can confirm that we have measures in place to ensure that we can continue to meet all global manufacturing obligations.”

Apple is reportedly gearing up to start manufacturing a new model of iPhone that’s smaller and cheaper than the current generation, with rumors circulating that the new model will have a 5.4-inch screen and come out in fall of 2020.

But the new more affordable iPhone could be hit by the disruption, with two sources telling Nikkei that although production was meant to start in the third week of February, that could change due to the outbreak.

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