It seems that very, very slowly companies in China are returning to production but with an uncertain outcome due to the coronavirus: some reports of these hours say that Foxconn has reopened the doors in the iPhone factory in Zhenghzou, its largest and most important plant for the production of Apple terminals (and not only), although at the moment it would only employ one tenth of the total workforce.
Even more confusing reports indicate that another Foxconn iPhone factory in Shenzhen has requested authorization to resume production but that the Chinese government and local authorities have denied the go ahead. In the past few hours some conflicting reports have told of alleged orders from the Chinese authorities that forbade the reopening of the factories in Foxconn, which were later denied. Now, a latest report report says that the most important plant in Zhenghzou has restarted production but only with 10% of the staff.
Foxconn received permission to reopen its Zhenghzou facility today, Reuters reported. It is not known at what time Foxconn received the authorization, or whether he was able to open for a full day shift. Reports say, however, that only 10% of the workforce returned to the factory.
While a number of Foxconn employees may have been away from the property during the Chinese New Year holidays, staff generally live on site. It is therefore possible that the 10% figure is the percentage of all Foxconn staff in all facilities, rather than the total for the shift exclusively in Zhenghzou. It is not even clear whether the operations on a very small scale are due to a limit imposed by the authorities for health reasons and prevention against the coronavirus epidemic, or if instead only 10% of employees managed to return to work due to travel restrictions and on public transport.
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo recently estimated that the interruption caused by the coronavirus and the continuing safety concern would justify the return to work of fewer employees. In the past few days, the same analyst estimated that Zhenghzou would initially welcome between 40% and 60% of the workers upon restarting the plant.
Likewise, Kuo believes that the Shenzhen plant will see between 30% and 50% of the total workforce required to return in the coming days. Of these two Foxconn plants, Zhenghzou is considered the most critical at the moment because most of the assembled iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro models come out from here.
However, Shenzhen is believed to be the location where work is already underway on the next "iPhone 12". It remains to be seen what delays and repercussions there will be for the assembly of the next iPhone 9, previously scheduled for March but which could be delayed and delayed due to the coronavirus.
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