Apple’s largest iPhone production site hit by flooding in central China

TAIPEI – Severe flooding in central China temporarily cut power at Apple Inc.’s largest iPhone manufacturing site when water leaked in some areas and the site operator gave many workers time off, employees said. from the factory there.

However, damage to the manufacturing center in Zhengzhou city, Henan province, appeared limited, workers said. Taiwan-based Foxconn Technology Group operates three factories in the city with hundreds of thousands of workers, many of them living on factory campuses, which produce more than half of the world’s iPhones, according to analysts.

Foxconn said it has implemented an emergency response plan for flood control, but there has been no direct impact on its facilities from the flooding.

The potential production halt comes just as Apple’s suppliers begin to prepare for this year’s new iPhone models, which are expected to launch in the fall. The assembly of the new models and their components usually begins around July and increases in the following weeks.

Record rains in central China caused flooding that flooded the subway and forced some 100,000 people to move. Henan Province is an important base for the industry and is home to one of the largest iPhone manufacturing sites in the world. Photo: AFP / Getty Images

Henan officials said Wednesday that at least 25 people have died and more than 1.2 million have been affected by the flood, which began with heavy rains on Saturday. Local news and social media showed passengers trapped in waist-deep subway cars and submerged vehicles in flooded streets. Trains and flights were canceled, while many stretches of roads in the region were closed.

Foxconn, also known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., said its employees in Zhengzhou are safe. Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“Our thoughts go out to all those affected by the floods in Henan Province and the first responders helping people to get to safety,” CEO Tim Cook said on his Weibo account, a Chinese social media platform. similar to Twitter.

Apple will also donate to flood relief efforts, Cook added, without specifying an amount.

Foxconn workers from the iPhone division at a factory in Zhengzhou, China, in 2017.

Adam Dean for EDL

Foxconn will donate 100 million yuan, or about $ 15.5 million, a company unit said on Wednesday.

According to local Foxconn employees, all three Foxconn factories in the city experienced hours of power outages Tuesday night when the city went through a blackout due to heavy rains.

The water reached the Foxconn campus on Tuesday and an assembly worker at one of the floors said it was submerged up to its thighs at the peak of the flooding. With the water level rising rapidly Tuesday night, some workers moved production equipment and inventories to keep them from getting wet, he said. Still, they weren’t aware of serious damage, the people said.

It was unclear if the water had reached any of the assembly lines.

On Wednesday, Foxconn allowed most employees to take time off or work from home, while some assembly lines were still in operation, they said. The company told employees that the exact time to return to the factory would depend on the situation. As of Wednesday afternoon, they had not received any instructions.

Taipei-based Isaiah Research forecasts that Apple will produce between 130 and 140 million iPhones in the second half of the year, about 8% more than in the same period last year. Of those, 80-85 million will be the latest iPhone 13 model, estimates the tech research firm.

Apple will report its third-quarter earnings on July 27. Foxconn will report its April-June results on August 12.

Write to Stephanie Yang in [email protected]

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