Apple suppliers scramble to restart production in China while keeping vast factories coronavirus-free

Apple suppliers in China are scrambling to restart production while keeping vast factories coronavirus-free. Foxconn’s main Longhua campus in Shenzhen is the size of 250 football fields. 100,000 people live and work there, so virus-proofing all of that space is obviously a challenge, yet that is exactly what Foxconn had to do to get production back online after the extended Chinese Lunar New Year break.

Lauly Li and Cheng Ting-Fang for Nikkei Asian Review:

Apple suppliers in China deal with 2019-nCoV coronavirusNormally the company only shuts its flagship Longhua campus in Shenzhen for a few days, if at all, during the holiday season, and once workers return from their hometowns, its production lines are quickly back up… But with the death toll from the coronavirus growing, local authorities have ordered Foxconn and other major tech manufacturers to implement a wide range of health and safety measures at their campuses, from setting up quarantine spaces to installing infrared temperature scanners and stocking up on surgical masks and disinfectant…

The world’s biggest electronics contract manufacturer had intended to resume production at Longhua on Feb. 10, when the holiday officially ended, but authorities put the brakes on those plans, citing concerns about poor airflow in dorms, restaurants and production facilities. The company has since received the OK from officials, indicating it has satisfied the anti-virus guidelines, but staffing issues remain. “It will take at least one to two months rather than just one to two days, for normal resumption of manufacturing,” a source familiar with matter told the Nikkei Asian Review…

The company operates some 45 massive plants across more than 40 cities in China… and its Zhengzhou site in Henan Province, the world’s biggest iPhone production base. The latter could not immediately restart production on Feb. 10. On the other hand, key AirPod builders such as China’s Luxshare ICT, traded as Luxshare Precision Industry, and Goertek, as well as iPad maker BYD — all Chinese companies — told Apple that they could resume some production as scheduled on Feb. 10 without a prior government audit, sources briefed on the matter told Nikkei.

MacDailyNews Take: Foxconn has even established its own surgical mask production line, with plans to churn out 2 million units a day by the end of the month! There’s much more about the efforts of Apple suppliers in China to resume production safely in the full article here.

4 Comments

  1. Does the description of the plant as “an area the size of 250 football fields where 100,000 people live and work” as seasonal employees suggest why Apple might have trouble moving all its manufacturing to the US? It isn’t the cost, but the availability, of labor that is the limiting factor.

  2. Stupidity of exporting jobs out of USA. Business executives are unable or do not want to to think beyond making a short term profit using low cost labor.

    Time for a truly global economy will arrive eventually but not in our time. Maybe in about one hundred years when AI is a mature technology.

    1. Again, labor cost isn’t the prime motivator. That is a very small part of the cost of the finished device. The problem is scale. Foxconn is just one of the Apple assemblers, and Longua is just one of 45 Foxconn plants (in the PRC; there are more elsewhere). Can you name a US city that can provide hundreds of thousands of workers or accommodate that many people moving there?

      Automated plants could be built, of course, but it would drain even Apple’s resources. So would the cost of retooling (essentially rebuilding the plant) for each model cycle. Why do you think the last Mac Pro was never upgraded? It is a lot faster to retrain people than custom machines.

  3. Apple appears to be the only major tech company financially affected by CoViD-19. All the other major tech companies have nearly no exposure to China and are able to skate merrily along as though nothing is happening. Lucky for them. Every little sneeze and cough in China will knock off a couple of cents from Apple’s share price. Hehe.

    I would prefer Chinese workers to stay home and wait for the virus to subside rather than send them into factories and possibly spread the virus. So what if Apple’s share price drops temporarily? Think about those worker’s health and Apple in the long-term.

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