- Workers are reportedly leaving the world’s largest iPhone factory in droves amid the Covid outbreak.
- Photos and videos of workers escaping from the Zhengzhou complex are circulating online.
- Foxconn said it is arranging transportation for workers who wish to go home for an “orderly return.”
Workers at the world’s largest iPhone factory in China are leaving the facility in droves amid fears of severe COVID-19 restrictions following an outbreak, according to reports.
The facility, located in the city of Zhengzhou in the central Chinese province of Henan, employs over 200,000 workers. They make the majority of the world’s iPhones. The facilities were hit by the COVID-19 outbreak, which prompted strict pandemic restrictions under China’s Covid-zero policy and worsened living conditions, the Financial Times reported on Sunday, citing five workers.
The risk of food shortages became a source of unrest as only those working on production lines received lunch boxes, Bloomberg reported on Friday, citing people familiar with the matter. Workers infected with COVID-19, or those who were afraid to leave their dormitories, had only basic supplies such as bread and instant noodles, the media reported.
Dramatic photos and videos of Foxconn workers escaping the Zhengzhou complex have hit the internet. A video appears to show it workers carrying bags of their belongings while they went out on foot.
—Bang Xiao 萧邦 (@BangXiao_) October 30, 2022
A videoposted by the BBC’s China correspondent Stephen McDonell appeared to show workers climbing over fences to escape the facility.
—Stephen McDonell (@StephenMcDonell) October 30, 2022
Insider was unable to independently verify the videos.
Foxconn, also known as Hon Hai Technology Group in China and Taiwan, said in a statement to Insider that “it is very well that under the current situation, it is a prolonged battle to protect the health and safety of more than 200,000 workers at Foxconn’s Zhengzhou Park.” The company did not comment on the social media posts.
Foxconn said it continues to implement pandemic prevention measures at the Zhengzhou park, including setting up a 24-hour hotline for workers. He added that the outbreak is stabilizing and there is an ample supply of daily necessities.
“For some employees who want to return home, the park is working with the government to organize staff and vehicles to provide a regular point-to-point return service for employees, starting today,” Foxconn said. The company will coordinate with its other factories to minimize the impact on production capacity, it said.
The Foxconn outbreak comes just as Apple enters the crucial holiday quarter for retail. Apple has already warned of a slowdown in growth in the fourth quarter due to a strong US dollar and supply challenges for higher-end iPhone models. Events at the Foxconn factory in Zhengzhou could reduce Apple’s November production by as much as 30 percent, Reuters reported on Monday, citing a person with direct knowledge of the matter.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider, which was sent after hours.
Foxconn shares were flat on Monday, trading at 45.50 New Taiwan Dollars, or $1.41 apiece, on the Taiwan Stock Exchange.