Given that the plant was already operating closed-loop production, where workers live and work within the campus for up to a month at a time, it’s not immediately clear what form the iPhone City lockdown takes, but one report refers to it as a “seven-day closure” …
The plant is the largest iPhone assembly facility in the world, employing around 300,000 workers.
China still maintains a zero-COVID-19 policy, attempting to completely eliminate the virus from the country by imposing citywide lockdowns in response to even a handful of positive tests.
In an attempt to pursue this policy without destroying the economy, China allows what is known as closed-loop production, where staff work, eat, and sleep on the campus during lockdowns.
These conditions were already tough, but a COVID-19 outbreak within the plant itself created even tighter restrictions, with many workers climbing fences to escape the plant and return home to their families.
In an attempt to persuade staff to stay, Foxconn has been increasing bonuses by up to 1,000%.
iPhone City lockdown
The Wall Street Journal reports that the entire plant has now entered a seven-day lockdown.
The industrial park where Foxconn Technology Group’s iPhone assembly plant is struggling to maintain production amid a Covid-19 outbreak entered a weeklong lockdown Wednesday, after the region’s governor visited the site and called for local officials to step up oversight of the virus-control campaign.
The Zhengzhou Airport Economy Zone in the central province of Henan said the lockdown would begin from noon Nov. 2 to counteract the “severe and complicated” spread of Covid in the region.
However, the report doesn’t make clear what the lockdown actually entails. The WSJ refers to it as a “closure,” while Foxconn says it is continuing operations.
When asked about the impact of the seven-day closure of the industrial park, a Foxconn spokesman said only that it was continuing closed-loop operations. Apple didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Foxconn has been boosting production at smaller facilities in order to make up some of the lost production, so one interpretation would be a complete closure of the Zhengzhou assembly lines, with other plants operating closed-loop production.
Either way, it’s clear that things are getting worse rather than better. Concerns are growing about the health and living conditions of the workers, as well as the impact on iPhone 14 production.
Author: Ben Lovejoy