Massive protests again trouble Apple’s Foxconn facility in China, continuing disruptions at world’s largest iPhone factory

In central China, massive protests have been reported at world’s largest iPhone factory in Zhengzhou province, according to images and videos widely circulating online, showing they have been beaten and detained in protests. According to media reports the protest started Tuesday night over unpaid wages and contract disputes and fears of spreading COVID infections. Widely reported by media, videos on Wednesday showed hundreds of workers marched on road defying COVID protocols, with some being apprehended by police and people in hazmat suits.

Zhengzhou iPhone plant run by Taiwan based Foxconn is the world’s largest iPhone factory dubbed as iPhone city with some 200,000 workers. Last month, massive exodus of Foxconn workers was seen at this plant as they complained about inadequate anti-virus protection and a lack of food and medical help for coworkers. Thousands of workers fled on foot to avoid COVID curbs as Foxconn was using “closed-loop management,” inside the factory effectively locking down employees there with no outside contact.

Such massive disruptions have hit the Apple’s critical supply chain in China which warned that deliveries of its new iPhone 14 model would be delayed due to anti-disease controls imposed on the Zhengzhou factory. The city government suspended access to an industrial zone that surrounds the factory. Foxconn and the local government had promised high wages and better working conditions to attract new workers to the factory. But Wednesday’s protests again reflected a build-up of tensions since the lockdown began in October.

Experts opine, the situation at Foxconn’s Zhengzhou iPhone plant is another reminder of the dangers for Apple of relying on a vast production center in China at a time of unpredictable policy direction.

Sporadic protests have been reported across China as the number and severity of outbreaks has risen. China is the only major economy in the world still trying to control COVID outbreaks through strict lockdown measures and mass testing, even though the strategy has not been able to stop the new outbreaks, nor has it been able to control it as fast-spreading omicron variants keep causing multiple outbreaks.

Earlier this week, authorities reported several COVID-19 deaths, for the first time in six months. The Chinese government said Tuesday that more than 253,000 coronavirus cases have been found since November 1 amid severest COVID outbreak in 3 years. The COVID-19 booster vaccination rate of those aged 80 and above is less than 30 percent, based on the data collected from the latest outbreak in Beijing. The number of new cases continues to increase, and cases detected among communities continue to rise.
China today reported more than 29000 new COVID cases with capital Beijing reporting nearly 1500 new COVID cases and remains under stringent COVID restrictions.

Comments are closed.