Apple Inc. is accelerating its plan to move iPhone production out of China after violent worker protests against COVID regulations at the world’s largest iPhone factory, the Wall Street Journal said on Saturday.
The plant, dubbed iPhone City, made headlines in recent weeks after workers outraged safety officers in hazmat suits over COVID-related concerns.
Apple reportedly intends to shift its manufacturing to other Asian countries like India and Vietnam and reduce its reliance on Taiwanese electronics makers like Foxconn, which owned the Zhengzhou plant.
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But according to a report by CNN earlier this week, Foxconn may also be looking to move its work outside of mainland China.
It’s unclear when exactly Apple will be able to fully shift its reliance on the iPhone City facility, which houses around 300,000 workers and at any given point made up 85 percent of the Pro line of iPhones, according to the report.
But Apple’s decision comes after years of manufacturing problems due to the coronavirus pandemic, supply chain problems and strained geopolitical ties between Washington and Beijing that have resulted in a more complicated business plan.
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“In the past, people didn’t consider concentration risks,” Alan Yeung, a former US executive at Foxconn, told the Wall Street Journal. “Free trade was the norm and things were very predictable. Now we have entered a new world.”
Apple could also try to rely on a larger pool of assemblers themselves from China to avoid supply chain snafus, while the company also looks for reliable manufacturers who can handle what Apple calls New Product Introduction or NPI.
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According to the report, NPI is the process by which Apple translates its latest product’s blueprints into a detailed manufacturing plan — a step that nations like India and Vietnam may not yet be able to pull off.
“It’s not easy finding all the parts to build at the scale Apple needs,” Kate Whitehead, a former Apple operations manager, told the publication.
Fox News Digital could not immediately reach Apple for comment.