Coronavirus: Foxconn Given The Green Light To Reopen Factories
The world’s biggest tech manufacturer has been given the green light to reopen factories in China despite concerns for the coronavirus outbreak.
According to a new report, there has been concerns that the fatal virus could put a large dent in Foxconn’s manufacturing of Apple’s iPhones, therefore leading to a decline in sales.
The electronics manufacturing giant partially restarted production at its factory in Zhengzhou on Monday after an extended Lunar New Year holiday. Only 10 per cent of the workforce – around 16,000 people – were reportedly able to return to their jobs, however.
The Chinese government also permitted Foxconn to reopen its factory in the southern city of Shenzhen, according to Reuters. The two plants contain most of Foxconn’s iPhone assembly lines, it has been reported.
But the manufacturing giant applied strict conditions for workers returning to work, including wearing face masks, following a certain dining system and go through temperature check, according to internal memos Reuters saw.
Taiwan-based Foxconn is working with Chinese officials to restart its production across China ‘in a staggering and orderly manner,’ while keeping safety its top priority, the company told the publication in a statement.
But the expected delay in getting Foxconn’s factories back into production is expected to hurt the world’s iPhone supply and sales. Full production at the factories won’t likely resume until late February as it will take around two weeks to ramp up operations again.
Trendforce, a market research firm, expects about 10 per cent fewer iPhones to be produced in the first quarter of this year, according to Reuters, with TFI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo recently cutting his first-quarter iPhone sales forecast to 36 – 40 million units.
Foxconn has also reportedly set its sights on producing face masks to respond to the coronavirus amid a global shortage due to consumer demand. The company revealed that it intended on making up to two million units per day to first supply its own staff and then distribute around the world.
Meanwhile, shares for Apple were trading down 0.2 per cent at US $319.31 as of 11.14am on Monday.
The coronavirus also forced the tech giant to temporarily shut its stores across mainland China in the epicentre of the outbreak.
Apple has declined to comment for this story.