Experts have been warning about the coronavirus’s effect on the consumer tech industry and now it looks like iPhone production is going to have to slow down significantly due to reduced numbers of factory staff.
Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has written a new note to investors (seen by AppleInsider) which explains what’s going on at Apple’s major supply partners in China. Kuo has previously reduced his production forecast for iPhones by 10% for Q1, and now we can see why that’s likely going to be a reality.
Take Foxconn’s Zhengzhou facility, which makes the iPhone 11 and will also be producing the iPhone 9 (aka iPhone SE 2). Kuo claims that only between 40 - 60% of the workforce present before the Lunar New Year holiday period began will be returning to work this week, having been held back an extra week due to the viral outbreak.
Foxconn’s other main factory in Shenzhen hasn’t taken the extra week off, but has an even lower rate of returning workers, pegged by Kuo as between 30 and 50%.
As a result, Foxconn has moved some of its production out of these locations to its factories in Taiyuan, northern China, and India, but these are much smaller than their main facilities, and therefore production delays are very likely.
Another Apple supplier, Pegatron, has been back at work since February 3. The Shanghai-based factory, where the iPhone 11 is built and where the iPhone 12 is reportedly being developed, currently has a high number of returning employees (90%). However, Kuo predicts many of the workers will resign once they receive their February paycheck, leaving Pegatron with around 60 - 70% of its original workforce.
Pegatron also has a base in Kunshan, where it’s building the iPhone SE 2, which was meant to return to work on Feb. 10, but apparently will not be doing so. Kuo predicts only 40 to 60% of workers there will return once it reopens.