Workers flee from Largest iPhone factory in China due to fear of COVID lockdown

Foxconn, the largest manufacturer of iPhone components and the largest assembly plant of iPhones in China is facing a serious situation of COVID lockdown. A video was made viral on Twitter which showed that the Foxconn plant in Zhengzhou had reported eight deaths due to COVID-19. Later on, Foxconn in a public announcement said that their investigation shows that the video was maliciously edited and that there has been no COVID outbreak in the facility. But this news of a possible COVID outbreak at the Foxconn plant was enough to spark chaos among workers at the facility. Due to China’s strict no-COVID policy, the workers feared getting locked down at the factory. Because of this, many workers decided to flee from the facility to reach the safety of their homes. 

Foxconn is the largest iPhone factory for Apple, as it produces almost 85% of iPhones sold globally. China is one of the prime locations for setting up manufacturing plants, especially for electronics and technology markets. China also has one of the largest human resources to support the vast manufacturing market. Because of this, Apple and many technology-based companies such as Tesla, rely heavily on China’s manufacturing market. But during the COVID-19 pandemic, China applied some of the most stringent regulatory conditions to control the spread of illness across the country. Due to these regulatory restrictions businesses in China have faced complications regarding the import and export of materials. It has also affected their regular operations, pushing these companies to be on their toes for managing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hence, when the news broke out of Foxconn having a COVID-19 outbreak, the workers feared that to prevent the further spread of infection, the company will lock them inside the facility until the outbreak is under control. Due to this fear of being away from their families and home, many workers ran away from the Foxconn facility to reach their homes. 

This was a serious claim against Foxconn, which could have stopped the production, thus resulting in a significant loss for the company. Hence, Foxconn carried out a thorough investigation of the situation and found that the video was intentionally edited to make it look like Foxconn had a COVID-19 outbreak. Immediately, Foxconn took it to WeChat to explain the situation and to address the concerns of their workers. Foxconn stated that the company fully understands the intentions and urge of workers to get back to their family and their home. Foxconn further stated that for the workers who decided to stay at the facility, the company and the government will be taking all the measures necessary to ensure their safety and health. 

Although this situation was a result of an edited video getting viral, it is bound to impact the production output of Foxconn and Apple. As a significant chunk of factory workers have fled from the facility, the production volume at Foxconn is expected to fall significantly. The spokesperson from Foxconn said that due to the upcoming holiday season, the company is in dire need of workers to fulfill the required production volume.