Foxconn, a major supplier for Apple and critical partner for the manufacturing of the iPhone, has halted production in the Chinese tech hub of Shenzhen, according to a spokesperson from the tech giant. The halt in operations is a direct result of soaring covid-19 cases in China, a country that has managed to keep cases relatively low for the past two years.
Two Foxconn campuses in Shenzhen have temporarily shut down, a direct result of Beijing’s order on Sunday that non-essential businesses in Shenzhen pause operations until March 20. The city of 17.5 million has been effectively locked down as cases rise, with many workers being told to work from home if they can.
“The operation of Foxconn in Shenzhen, China has been suspended from March 14 onwards in compliance with the local government’s new covid-19 policy. The date of factory resumption is to be advised by the local government,” a spokesperson for Foxconn Technology Group told Gizmodo by email early Monday.
“Due to our diversified production sites in China, we have adjusted the production line to minimize the potential impact. Meanwhile, we have required all the employees to have covid PCR test on top of existing prevention measures to ensure the health and safety of our employees,” the spokesperson continued.
China reported 1,437 new cases of covid-19 on Monday, according to China’s National Health Commission, an incredibly high number for the country relative to just a few weeks ago. At least 75 new cases were reported in Shenzhen on Monday and 60 new cases were reported on Sunday, according to the National Health Commission.
China has done relatively well with managing covid-19 over the past two years, despite the fact that the coronavirus originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019. China has controlled the spread of the virus through draconian lockdowns and mass testing, though the latest omicron wave may prove to be too much to be truly contained. Only time will tell.
As Reuters notes, the largest iPhone production facility in China is actually in the city of Zhengzhou, which is currently not in a lockdown. Zhengzhou has not reported substantial numbers of covid-19 cases since mid-January when the city went into lockdown and was able to crush the virus for the time being.
But Foxconn isn’t the only tech company that’s suspending operations in Shenzhen as cases rise, of course. Unimicron Technology, a major supplier for Intel, has paused production in the city, according to Reuters.
Drone-maker DJI, Huawei, and Tencent also have huge offices in Shenzhen, which are all likely to be closed until at least March 20, according to Bloomberg News. But no one knows for sure how long Shenzhen’s lockdown will continue.