Foxconn’s Zhengzhou Plant Not Expected to Resume Full Production Until Late December-Early January

Foxconn’s Zhengzhou plant in China isn’t expected to return to full production until later this month at the very least. This follows two months of turmoil where COVID-19 cases led to worker disputes, walkouts, and heated protests, impacting iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max production.

The Zhenghous factory is Foxconn’s largest iPhone production plant. It’s been largely dubbed ‘iPhone City’ for its sheer size, worker count, and output. However, COVID-19-related disruptions, Foxconn’s year-on-year revenue is reportedly said to have fallen 11.4 percent. However, in a statement to Reuters, Foxconn states the COVID-19 situation is now “brought under control” and the company is now “restoring production capacity to normal.”

However, in order to do so, the company must begin recruiting more workers for the site. “If the recruitment goes smoothly, it could take around three to four weeks to resume full production,” a source told Reuters. If all goes well, it’s believed that full production will resume in late December at very least.

Production at the Zhengzhou plant was first impacted when it experienced rising COVID-19 cases in October. Workers were then to continue to work on campus as well as eat, socialize, and sleep due to China’s zero-tolerance policy. However, the situation quickly began escalating when living conditions reportedly declined and viral cases continued to increase. Foxconn began experiencing a mass exodus of workers, leaving the company no choice but to begin recruiting new staff and offering bonus payments to those who continued working. In November, the situation worsened when workers were told the bonus pay would be delayed. Workers began protesting with there being reported violence towards officials.

The entire situation resulted in lowered production of the iPhone 14 Pro. Ahead of the holidays and Boxing Day, Apple’s projected target dropped nearly six million units. Additionally, experts estimate that the disruptions have been costing Apple nearly $1b per week. The ordeal may have led to disruptions of nearly 30 percent of Foxconn’s production at the Zhengzhou plant.

Foxconn is one of Apple’s largest suppliers. With the Zhengzhou factory in charge of the higher-end iPhone 14 Pro units, it’s more than likely that eager customers and gift-givers may find it harder to locate an iPhone 14 Pro model this holiday season.