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Exclusive Foxconn’s iPhone output in India down amid covid surge

The production of the Apple iPhone 12 at the Foxconn factory in India has slumped by more than 50%. This is because the woorkers got infected with covid and left heir posts.

The Foxconn facility in the southern state of Tamil Nadu produces iPhones specifically for India. Tamil Nadu is facing one of the worst hits in this second wave. It is now trying to slow the infection by imposing strict lockdown rules. One of the sources said that more than 100 Foxconn employees in the state have tested positive for covid. Hence the company has enforced a no-entry ban at its factory in the capital of Chennai until late May.

Employees are only allowed to leave but not to enter the facility. Only a small part of output is being kept. The sources said that more than 50% of the plant’s capacity had been cut. The plant’s capacity is not said specifically. It was unclear how many workers were at the facility, which provides dormitory accommodation for employees.

The world’s largest contract electronics maker and a major supplier to Apple, Taipei-based Foxconn said that the company is supporting with medical assistance for the workers who were tested positive for covid. Foxconn declined to comment on factory output or specific staffing levels. Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Foxconn’s shares fell as much as 6.2%. The stock closed down 5.31%, outpacing a 3.8% fall in the broader market on concerns about rising cases in Taiwan.

India has benefited from Apple’s move to shift some areas of production from China to other markets. There it navigates a trade war between Washington and Beijing. With Apple announcing in March it had started the assembly of the iPhone 12 in India. CEO Tim Cook said that India business doubled in the December quarter, when compared to the previous year. This is the result which came helped by an online store launch.

Foxconn similarly said strong smartphone sales contributed to a stronger-than-expected performance in the fourth quarter amid the work-from-home trend. Market research firm Canalys said that growth in India extended through the first quarter. This is due to the shipping of Apple which is more than a million iPhones. He added that the demand for the iPhone 12 was supported by local assembly and attractive finance offers.

Trend Force said in a report that smartphone brands are therefore expected to closely monitor their inventories of whole devices and adjust their subsequent production plans accordingly.

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