Foxconn’s COVID-hit Chinese plant is about to resume full production sources

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By Yimou Lee

TAIPEI (Reuters) – Foxconn’s COVID-hit iPhone plant in China’s Zhengzhou city is almost back to full production, with December shipments reaching about 90% of plans original, said two people with direct knowledge of the matter.

Foxconn, formerly Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd, declined to comment.

Production at Apple Inc.’s largest iPhone manufacturing facility. in the world was seriously disrupted late last year after an outbreak of COVID-19 and restrictions to combat the virus led to thousands of workers leaving the company. It was also hit by a series of labor unrest over payment problems.

Foxconn offers bonuses to attract new employees and persuade existing ones to stay. A company source told Reuters last month that the plant aims to resume full production in late December or early January.

“Production has almost fully resumed,” one of the people said Tuesday, who declined to be identified because the information was private.

A second person said production is almost back to normal, but company officials remained cautious about the outlook amid a surge in COVID-19 cases across China.

“We expect a peak for cases before or after the Lunar New Year holidays,” the person said, referring to the week-long break starting on January 21. “We don’t know if this is going to cause problems.”

On Saturday, the state-run broadcaster of Henan province, where the plant is located, quoted a senior official at the plant as saying that the plant’s workforce is currently stable at 200,000 and that it has stabilized also its supply chain to increase production capacity allows recovery.

The plant can accommodate up to 300,000 workers.

The trouble at the Zhengzhou plant highlighted the difficulties companies and workers had to comply with China’s zero-COVID-19 policy.

The central government dropped the policy suddenly in early December after the Foxconn woes and a series of anti-political protests to pursue a strategy of living with the virus. The move was met with widespread relief but also sparked a wave of infections across the country.

(Reporting by Yimou Lee in Taipei; Writing by Brenda Goh; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Christopher Cushing)

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