China: Urges veterans to push production at iPhone factory

China: Urges veterans to push production at iPhone factory
China: Urges veterans to push production at iPhone factory

China: Urges veterans to push production at iPhone factory

  • Wanyuan song
  • BBC News

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China wants retired military personnel to help boost production at one of the world’s largest iPhone factories in Qingsu province.

The invitation was issued by the People’s Liberation Army’s Bureau of Retired Military Affairs in the province.

Production at the Foxconn plant has been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic in the country.

In an open letter published on messaging app WeChat, the bureau said veterans have always obeyed Communist Party leadership and should “appear when necessary.”

He urged them to “respond to the government’s call” and “participate in continuing production.”

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Most workers have been confined to their workspaces during the COVID pandemic

Foxconn is headquartered in Taiwan but has multiple offices in China.

The company’s factory in Chengsu County, with a population of about 10 million, employs more than 200,000 people and produces 70 percent of the world’s iPhones — about 500,000 phones a day.

The pandemic led to the temporary closure of some Foxconn factories earlier this year.

And the Qingsu factory has been in a “COVID bubble” since the beginning of 2022, aiming to maintain the pace of production.

People whose test results appear positive are sent to quarantine centers within the facility, but this did not prevent the workers from becoming infected.

Some COVID-19 cases were reported at the factory in October, just as Qingsu imposed lockdowns in some districts, but Foxconn’s current number of infections remains secret.

The outbreak of the pandemic triggered panic within the facility. Videos have been posted on social media showing large numbers of workers jumping over the fence in front of the facility in an attempt to escape.

Due to the lack of public transportation, many of the company’s employees walked for miles down the street.

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Local authorities provided shuttle buses for employees returning to Foxconn

Foxconn has since halted production, and research group TrendForce revealed that just over two-thirds of the plant’s production lines are operational.

The Chinese government newspaper Global Times estimated that another 10,000 workers would be needed at the plant.

News site Net East reported that Foxconn had urged the local government to send at least one person from each village to the factory, but the BBC could not verify the claims.

Foxconn is the largest company in Qingsu and the largest export company. By September 2022, it had exported more than $36 billion worth of products.

Foxconn and Apple have not yet responded to the BBC’s request for comment.

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