Foxconn iPhone India output drops 50% amid COVID surge

Two sources report that production of the Apple iPhone 12 at a Foxconn factory in India has slumped by more than 50% because workers infected with COVID-19 have had to leave their posts.

The Foxconn facility in the southern state of Tamil Nadu produces iPhones specifically for India, the world’s No.2 smartphone market.

Tamil Nadu is one of the worst hit states in the second coronavirus wave engulfing India. Officials imposed a full lockdown in the state from Monday, closing public transport and shuttering shops, to try slow surging infections.

More than 100 Foxconn employees in the state have tested positive for COVID-19 and the company has enforced a no-entry ban at its factory in the capital of Chennai until late May.

More than 50% of the plant’s capacity had been cut, the sources confirmed.

Taipei-based Foxconn, the world’s largest contract electronics maker and a major supplier to Apple, said a small number of employees at one of its facilities in India tested positive for COVID-19 and the company was providing them with support, including medical assistance.

India has benefited from Apple’s move to shift some areas of production from China to other markets as 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.

While Apple’s share of the budget phone-dominated India market is small, CEO Tim Cook said in January that India business doubled in the December quarter compared to the previous year, 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, with Apple shipping more than a million iPhones. Demand for the iPhone 12 was supported by local assembly and attractive finance offers, Canalys said.

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