Just yesterday it was reported that Foxconn started a major recruitment phase in its Zhengzhou factory for the production of the upcoming iPhone 14 ahead of schedule. Now, the Taiwanese manufacturer has frozen hiring due to the most recent COVID-19 lockdown in Zhengzhou. The company will presumably begin hiring workers after the seven-day lockdown is lifted.
Foxconn’s facilities could be affected by COVID-19 lockdowns hitting Zhengzhou
Foxconn is one of Apple’s main iPhone assembly partners and has been able to keep operations runnings at its facilities in China despite COVID-19 lockdowns hitting multiple cities, until now. At the beginning of May, the company initiated a large recruitment drive for its factory in Zhengzhou for the production of iPhones. However, it has to halt the drive due to a rise of COVID cases in Zhengzhou resulting in a citywide lockdown.
As reported by the South China Morning Post, there were ten new asymptomatic carriers and four new COVID-19 cases in the city of Zhengzhou which led the government to impose a seven-day lockdown from Wednesday to Tuesday, May 10.
Typically, Foxconn’s main hiring drive for new iPhone launches usually takes place from mid-June to July. So, the ramping up of hiring earlier than usual can be attributed to fears that China’s lockdowns could lead to short supply or delays later in 2022 as well as to ensure the production of the iPhone 13 remains stable.
In addition, the company typically offers a job seeker bonus of RMB 6,500 ($983) to workers who stay for at least 90 days. During its latest recruitment drive, however, that bonus had gone up 30% to RMB 8,500 ($1,286) after 90 days.
Currently, it is unclear how the lockdown will impact the production of the upcoming iPhone 14. While the hiring of new workers has been halted, it does not mean manufacturing has stopped.
Previously, it was reported that Foxconn was also allowed to resume operations at its facilities in Shenzhen under a bubble arrangement to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The close loop management system requires the factory workers to live at the facility and undergo regular testing. It might be possible that the same protocol will be applied to its Zhengzhou facilities.
The manufacturer says the main disturbance to production is not the lack of new works but transporting goods and dealing with increased protocols around testing and disinfection to prevent the spread of COVID-19.