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The main entrance to Foxconn’s manufacturing complex in Zhengzhou. Photo: Weibo

World’s largest iPhone factory escapes Henan floods but facing worker shortage as it ramps up production, local media reports

  • Smartphone manufacturing ‘not affected by the heavy rainfall’ and it is ‘business as usual’, plant’s deputy manager quoted as saying
  • Foxconn’s plants in Zhengzhou have the capacity to produce 500,000 phones a day, and typically account for 80 per cent of the iPhones made worldwide

The world’s largest iPhone factory, run by Foxconn Technology Group in the central Chinese city of Zhengzhou, has emerged largely unscathed from local flooding and is now preparing for iPhone 13 production, the official Henan Daily reported on Monday.

The newspaper reported that as of last Saturday, over 200,000 workers were on duty at the company’s main iPhone production plant in Zhengzhou’s Airport Economy Zone, which was not affected, even though two smaller plants suffered damage from the heavy rain and floods.

Wang Xue, deputy manager of the Foxconn Zhengzhou Science Park, was quoted by the newspaper as saying that smartphone manufacturing “was not affected by the heavy rainfall” and it was “business as usual”.

The information is in line with previous reports that said the floods had limited direct impact on iPhone production in Zhengzhou. Faced with worker shortages, the factory raised its cash rewards for new hires to yet another record-high as it ramps up production.

Record-high rainfall affected nearly 11.45 million residents in Henan province, forcing more than 1.3 million to relocate. The local government said on Monday that the total death toll from the floods had reached 302, with 50 more missing.

New order drop sees China factory activity expand at slowest pace in 15 months

Following the floods, Zhengzhou was hit by new Covid-19 cases and the city’s Communist Party chief warned of an “extremely serious” situation with more cases expected. The newspaper report, however, did not mention the fresh outbreak of Covid-19 in the city.


Foxconn’s plants in Zhengzhou have the capacity to produce 500,000 smartphones a day, and typically account for 80 per cent of the iPhones released worldwide. The combined workforce of the Zhengzhou factories is more than 250,000, and at peak times has exceeded 300,000.

The company told state media that its plant at the Economic and Technological Development Zone was hit hard by the heavy rainfall on July 20, with the building and equipment damaged by floods.
People walk on a flooded road after record downpours in Zhengzhou on July 20, 2021. Photo: Featurechina/ROPI/Zuma Press/TNS

More than 2,000 Foxconn workers and 600 civilians were trapped by the rain on the same day. Foxconn provided shelter and resources to those affected, with one company worker quoted as saying the water reached as high as three stories of the staff dormitory building.

However, the situation quickly improved and production at the plant resumed on the evening of July 22, and was back at normal levels by July 24, with all 14 assembly lines operating.

Foxconn said it is now trying to recruit more workers to meet rising demand for new handsets. “We currently have an abundance of orders which require a lot of manpower,” said Zhang Zhanwu, deputy manager of Foxconn. “We’re seeing a gap in the supply of frontline workers. Going forward, we will prioritise hiring those affected by the floods.”

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: iPhone factory escapes floods but needs staff