iPhone Maker Lifts Wages, Preps Backup for Covid-Hit China Plant | Tech News

iPhone Maker Lifts Wages, Preps Backup for Covid-Hit China Plant

Foxconn is preparing to bring backup production online and raise wages, after an exodus of workers threatened to disrupt an iPhone plant.

By:BLOOMBERG
| Updated on: Oct 31 2022, 20:38 IST
iPhone 15 Pro to get iPhone SE 3, iPhone 8 type specs! Amazing Apple move
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1/5 Are you waiting eagerly to get some exciting insights into the Apple iPhone 15 specs? Though there is still a year's time for the new iPhones' launch (expected in September, 2023), the leaks and rumors about it are creating a buzz amongst the fans. And as per the latest update, it is being said that the volume button and the power button of the two high end iPhone 15 models, iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max, may adopt a solid state button design similar to the home button design of iPhone 7, iPhone 8, iPhone SE 2 and iPhone SE 3. (REUTERS)
Foxconn
2/5 The information has been provided by Ming-Chi Kuo, analyst at TF International Securities over his Twitter handle. "My latest survey indicates that the volume button and power button of two high-end iPhone 15/2H23 new iPhone models may adopt a solid-state button design (similar to the home button design of iPhone 7/8/SE2 & 3) to replace the physical/mechanical button design," he tweeted. (HT Tech)
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3/5 In a series of tweets, the analyst further informed that there will be Taptic Engines located on the internal left and right sides to provide force feedback to make users feel like they are pressing physical buttons. He went on to say that due to this design change, the number of Taptic Engines used in each iPhone will increase from the current one to three. As a result, the existing Taptic Engine suppliers, Luxshare ICT (1st supplier) and AAC Technologies (2nd supplier) will be significant beneficiaries. (AFP)
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4/5 Also, it is expected that high-end Android smartphones will also follow Apple's design to create new selling points, which is a structural positive for the mobile phone vibrator industry, the analyst added. (AFP)
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5/5 Analyst Kuo had earlier said that Apple is expected to create massive differentiation between iPhone 15 Pros and iPhone 15 standard models. "I believe Apple will create more differentiation between iPhone 15 Pros and iPhone 15 standard models to increase Pro shipment allocation and the new iPhone ASP (average selling price)," his tweet read. Kuo said that Apple may create differentiation between the iPhone 15 Pro Max and the iPhone 15 Pro models in order to generate more sales and profits in a mature market. (HT Tech)
Foxconn
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Foxconn is grappling with mounting concern that a Covid flare-up at its main Zhengzhou plant could hurt iPhone production. (REUTERS)

Foxconn Technology Group is preparing to bring backup production online and raise hourly wages by more than a third, after an exodus of workers threatened to disrupt output at the world's largest iPhone plant ahead of the holidays.

Foxconn, whose listed vehicle is Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., is grappling with mounting concern that a Covid flare-up at its main Zhengzhou plant could hurt production just as Apple Inc. gears up for the crucial year-end season. Its shares fell 1.4% Monday, the worst decline in three weeks.

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Social media erupted over the weekend with photos and videos of workers departing the Zhengzhou plant, some on foot, to return to hometowns miles away. They were seeking to escape hastily enacted Covid-prevention measures that have left many of the 200,000 staff grappling with inadequate living conditions. Other videos depicted local residents offering food and shelter to some of the departing staff. Bloomberg hasn't verified the authenticity of the social media content.

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To keep plants running at fill speed, Foxconn is raising hourly pay by as much as 36% to roughly 38 yuan ($5.20) an hour for key positions, compared with the early days of iPhone 14 production around September, people familiar with the matter said, asking not to be identified because the move isn't public.

On the operations side, Foxconn has said it may boost capacity at alternative sites. The Taiwanese company also makes iPhones at a factory in Shenzhen, which together with Zhengzhou cranks out the majority of the world's iPhones. Representatives for the company declined to comment on wage plans.

“Further developments will be important as 4Q is the peak season for iPhone shipments,” Morgan Stanley analysts wrote. “The potential impact on iPhone production is worth monitoring as Zhengzhou is one of Hon Hai's major production sites, particularly for iPhone assembly.”

The rising tensions underscore the economic and social costs of Xi Jinping's Covid Zero policy -- a rigorously policed system of mass testing and lockdowns that has fostered growing resentment. It also shows the potential risk to global supply chains and products from China's approach.

Discontent has been brewing among staff at Foxconn's factory in Zhengzhou. The emergence of Covid cases led to the implementation of a closed loop system, where workers' movements are strictly limited. Food became a source of unrest after the company shut cafeterias at the manufacturing site known as “iPhone City.”

At one point, only workers on production lines were given meal boxes, with those infected or afraid to leave their company-provided dormitories given more basic fare like bread and instant noodles, Bloomberg News reported. On Monday, Foxconn said the local government had agreed to let it re-open cafeterias on campus.

It's unclear how many workers were allowed to leave Foxconn. The company hires many temporary staff from nearby regions to assemble electronics including Apple's latest iPhone 14 devices. Foxconn last week described the situation as a “small” outbreak.

“We are deeply aware that it's a ‘protracted war' in terms of how to take care of over 200,000 workers and their security” in Zhengzhou, Foxconn said in a Monday stock exchange filing.

The “Zhengzhou park operation, in coordination with the government's epidemic prevention, is gradually coming under control,” Foxconn said in a brief statement Sunday. “The Group will also coordinate back-up production capacity with our other parks to reduce any potential impact.”

The discontent comes at a crucial time for Apple, which launched the iPhone 14 during an unprecedented slump in global electronics demand. While faring better than other smartphone makers, it's backed off plans to increase production of its new iPhones this year after an anticipated surge in demand failed to materialize, Bloomberg has reported. Apple reported better-than-expected results Thursday but warned of a holiday slowdown.

Any disruption at Zhengzhou threatens to snarl Apple's finely orchestrated supply chain. Thousands of components from Europe to Asia are shipped into Zhengzhou, assembled manually into devices, then shuttled off to the rest of the world.

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First Published Date: 31 Oct, 20:37 IST
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