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Security forces clash with workers during a protest outside Apple supplier Foxconn Technology Group's factory in Zhengzhou, capital of central Henan province, on November 23, 2022. Photo: Reuters

Apple works with Foxconn to address worker concerns at Zhengzhou plant but stays mum on iPhone production delays

  • New recruits have clashed with riot police at Foxconn’s Zhengzhou plant over unpaid allowances of US$1,400
  • Apple breaks its silence surrounding the violent clashes at the world’s largest iPhone factory, saying it is working closely with Foxconn to address employees’ concerns
A team from Apple is at Foxconn Technology Group’s plant in Zhengzhou, capital of central Henan province, and is working with its largest contract manufacturer to address worker complaints that led to violent protests at the world’s largest iPhone factory.

“We have Apple team members on the ground at our supplier Foxconn’s Zhengzhou facility,” the Cupertino, California-based technology giant said in a statement on Friday. “We are reviewing the situation and working closely with Foxconn to ensure their employees’ concerns are addressed.”

This marks the first time that Apple has publicly addressed the protests.

Since Tuesday, there have been violent clashes between riot police in hazmat suits and wielding batons and new recruits, complaining of promised but unpaid allowances, after they were hired to fill in for the throngs of workers who fled the facility during a Covid-19 outbreak in October.


iPhone 14 delays expected after days of violent protests at Foxconn Zhengzhou factory

iPhone 14 delays expected after days of violent protests at Foxconn Zhengzhou factory

Foxconn promised 10,000 yuan (US$1,400) to each new employee on Wednesday if they choose to leave. One new worker recruited this month in Zhengzhou said that he and his seven roommates would take the money and leave.

Apple did not elaborate on the extent to which the latest workers’ revolt would delay shipments of its newly released iPhone 14, given the holiday shopping season is round the corner. It said in a statement earlier this month, after the initial exodus of workers from the factory, that there would be “lower iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max shipments” because the plant was “operating at significantly reduced capacity”.
Henan, home to Foxconn’s Zhengzhou plant, exported 8.4 million smartphones in October, a 16.9 per cent month-on-month decline, according to the latest Chinese customs data. Meanwhile, smartphone exports from Jiangsu province, where other Foxconn factories are located, jumped 31 per cent month on month in October.

Taiwan-based Foxconn, formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry, has been shifting iPhone production to its other facilities in China, including Shenzhen and Jiangsu.


Japanese consumers snap up used iPhones as plunging yen puts high-end gadgets out of reach

Japanese consumers snap up used iPhones as plunging yen puts high-end gadgets out of reach

About 10 per cent of global iPhone production would be affected since Foxconn started to grapple with a Covid-19 flare-up at its Zhengzhou campus, TF International Securities analyst Kuo Ming-Chi had said earlier. The city of 12 million reported 153 new infections and 521 asymptotic cases on Wednesday and will have to endure a five-day lockdown from Friday.

Production of iPhones could slump by at least 30 per cent at Foxconn’s Zhengzhou factory as a result of the unrest, Reuters reported on Friday, citing one unidentified source. Over 20,000 newly recruited workers took the offer and left, the report added.

Foxconn and Apple have long been criticised for labour violations at the Taiwanese manufacturer’s facilities in China. Advocacy groups have accused Foxconn of flouting local labour laws to hire more temporary workers – many of whom clashed with the police this week – and ignoring safety training and other issues.

In 2019, Apple denied the accusations, but recognised that Foxconn did exceed the number of contract workers allowed by law.