Apple supplier Foxconn has stopped hiring assembly line workers for its manufacturing facility in Zhengzhou, China, as the local government on Wednesday imposed a seven-day lockdown across the city to curb its latest COVID-19 outbreak — reports the South China Morning Post.
The city recorded four new COVID-19 cases and 10 new asymptomatic carriers of the virus, and, as a result, announced a citywide lockdown that will remain in effect from Wednesday, May 4, to Tuesday, May 10.
Often referred to as “iPhone City,” Zhengzhou is home to the largest iPhone factory in the world. Located in the Zhengzhou Airport Economy Zone, the Foxconn facility typically produces 60-80% of the world’s iPhones.
Foxconn was forced to close production at its Shenzhen site in March as the city faced a lockdown, but the closure did not have a significant impact on Apple’s supply chain and assembly lines only sat idle for a few days.
Foxconn’s Zhenzhou factory remained up and running through another lockdown last month, and will continue production through this one under a “closed-loop” system where employees both work and live at the manufacturing site. The system allows workers to move on a “point-to-point” basis between factories and on-site dormitories.
Reports from earlier this week indicated Foxconn was planning to hire more workers by offering higher cash bonuses (8,500 yuan ($1,286 USD) instead of 6,500 yuan) to new recruits in an attempt to boost production and meet Apple’s supply requirements for the upcoming iPhone 14 lineup.
Being forced to scrap its planned hiring wave could throw off Foxconn’s production schedule for the iPhone 14, potentially disrupting Apple’s supply given that Zhengzhou is where most iPhones are assembled.
Foxconn on Wednesday told Reuters that its Zhengzhou campus “has maintained production unchanged.”
What’s more, Foxconn’s supply chains remain heavily impacted due to the ongoing pandemic in China, with components and materials taking more time to transport to factories as logistics personnel are required to follow additional COVID-19 protocols.