Apple Suppliers Hit By Fresh China Covid-19 Restrictions

Operations at tech industry suppliers such as Foxconn, known for assembling Apple’s iPhones, have been interrupted by new Covid-19 restrictions in China.

The new restrictions, imposed after China discovered more than 5,000 locally transmitted coronavirus cases over the weekend, have been imposed in the tech manufacturing area of Shenzhen, which borders Hong Kong, as well as in other areas across the country.

Factories supplying carmakers such as Toyota and Volkswagen have also been affected, raising fears of new supply-chain disruptions.

Shenzhen imposed a lockdown on its 17.5 million people amidst what has become China’s biggest nationwide outbreak since the start of the pandemic.

Apple Store at The Grove in Los Angeles. Image credit: Apple

Lockdown

China has recorded more local asymptomatic cases so far this year than in all of 2021.

Other areas hit include the province of Jilin in the north-east, where authorities are building new hospital and quarantine facilities, and Shanghai.

Shenzhen is carrying out mass testing, while officials have suspended public transport and urged residents to work from home this week.

The city’s lockdown, scheduled to last for six days, affects more than 30 Taiwanese companies that manufacture everything from circuit boards to touchscreen modules.

Most manufacturers said their plants would be shut until Sunday, 20 March, according to reports.

Foxconn said it moved production to other plants to “minimise the potential impact” of the measures.

Disruption

Several reports indicated Foxconn expected it and and its subsidiaries’ operations in Shenzhen to be suspended for the first half of the week.

Taiwanese companies Unimicron Technology, which makes chip substrates and printed circuit boards for Apple, Intel and others, and Sunflex Technology, which makes flexible printed circuit boards, both said they had suspended operations in Shenzhen.

Sunflex said its plant would be closed until 20 March.

Toyota said on Monday its joint venture with China’s FAW Group had suspended production in Changchun, while its Tianjin City operations continued.

Volkswagen said its own FAW joint venture had suspended production from Monday to Wednesday.

China has continued with its zero-tolerance policy toward Covid-19, even as most other countries have relaxed restrictions.

Matthew Broersma

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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