Foxconn’s ‘iPhone City’ Factory Production At ‘Nearly Full Capacity’ – Report

Production at Foxconn’s huge iPhone factory in Zhengzhou, China, has returned to nearly full capacity, according to a Chinese state media report.

Known as ‘iPhone City’, the sprawling campus in central China, has since October been disrupted by a Covid-19 outbreak, as well as Chinese government restrictions, and violent worker protests.

Before the Covid-19 lockdown kicked in, local media reports had suggested that significant numbers of workers at the Zhengzhou plant had fled the site, as Coronavirus cases rose, due to fears of tough lockdowns or Covid-19 outbreaks.

Apple iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus

Factory disruption

All of those issues saw Apple take the unprecedented step in November and warn customers of longer wait times for new iPhones.

The disruption has also led Apple to accelerate its plans to shift some production to India and Vietnam.

Foxconn previously said it would do everything it possibly can to fulfil its order book, and the worker shortage saw Chinese officials drafting in retired members of the military and government to help at the factory.

Normally the Zhengzhou plant, which is spread over 1.4 million square metres and boasts dormitories, restaurants, basketball courts and a football pitch, employs 200,000 workers, who produce a staggering 500,000 iPhones a day.

China has also now relaxed its strict zero Covid lockdown strategy after mass protests in the country.

Foxconn reportedly also helped influence this relaxation by the Communist government, but it denies that is the case.

Shipment forecasts

The factory is critical to Apple, as about 70 percent of iPhone assembly takes place at the Zhengzhou complex.

In early December Foxconn said its Zhengzhou factory should resume full production in late December or early January.

But the disruption resulted in analysts reducing their shipment estimates of the latest top-end iPhones, and the CEO of one of the largest electrical retail chains in the United States warned about shortages of the iPhone 14 during the holiday season.

Last week an industry analyst revised downward its estimate of Apple’s iPhone shipments for 2022 and the first quarter of 2023.

Taiwanese research firm TrendForce revised downward its estimate of Apple’s iPhone 14 sales for 2022 to 78.1 million units.

The company said it now believes Apple will sell about 47 million units of all smartphone models in the first quarter of 2023, a year-on-year decline of 22 percent.

Near capacity

But now the Henan Daily newspaper on Tuesday reported that the Zhengzhou factory is now running at 90 percent of planned production capacity at the end of December.

It cited an interview with Wang Xue, deputy general manager of the facility, which is also known as iPhone city.

“At the moment, the order books look good, and the orders will peak from now until a few months after Chinese New Year,” he was quoted as saying.

The Chinese Lunar New Year will begin on 22 January.

The Henan Daily separately quoted an executive responsible for Foxconn’s logistics as saying that, in the first two days of January, the volume of inbound and outbound shipments had reached the highest level in a year.

The Henan Daily also reported that iPhone City currently had about 200,000 workers on site.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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