Foxconn’s iPhone plant in China faces unrest and production disruptions

Hundreds of workers have joined protests at Foxconn’s iPhone plant in China as a result of strict COVID-19 controls.
Apple supplier FoxconnReuters news report has published a timeline of problems at the world’s biggest iPhone plant, located in the central Chinese city of Zhengzhou.

OCT. 13

Amid rising COVID-19 cases in Zhengzhou, Foxconn puts the plant’s 200,000 workers under closed-loop management – a system where staff live and work on-site isolated from the wider world.

OCT. 21

Foxconn tightens COVID-19 restrictions at the plant but says production remains normal.

OCT. 30

Migrant workers have begun to flee the plant’s campus and return to their hometowns. Cities in central China hastily draw up plans to isolate them, fearing they could trigger COVID outbreaks.

OCT. 31

Production of Apple’s iPhones could slump by as much as 30 percent at the plant in November due to the tighter COVID curbs, a person with direct knowledge of the matter tells Reuters.

NOV. 1

Foxconn says it has quadrupled bonuses on offer for workers at the plant as it seeks to quell discontent over the COVID curbs and retain staff.

NOV. 2

China orders the industrial park in Zhengzhou that houses the Foxconn factory to enter a seven-day lockdown.

NOV. 7

Apple says its expects lower shipments of premium iPhone 14 models than previously anticipated following a significant production cut at the Zhengzhou plant, dampening its sales outlook for the busy year-end holiday season.

NOV. 9

The Zhengzhou plant continues to isolate its operations and staff despite the lift of a seven-day lockdown for the rest of the industrial park in which it is located.

NOV. 10

Foxconn says it expects smartphone revenue to fall in the fourth quarter and is adjusting production to prevent recent COVID curbs in Zhengzhou from impacting holiday orders.

NOV. 23

Footage on social media of the protests show men wielding sticks smash surveillance cameras and windows. The trigger for the protests appears to have been a plan to delay bonus payments, many of the demonstrators said on livestream feeds. Reuters was not able to immediately verify the videos.