Apple’s been struggling to keep its recently released iPhone 14 Pro in stock during the holiday shopping season. A new report from Bloomberg says growing political unrest throughout China, including at one of Apple’s key manufacturing plants in that country, will likely slow production even further.
Apple could face a manufacturing shortfall of 6 million units of its iPhone 14 Pro line, which starts at $999, according to Bloomberg, which cited an anonymous source. Apple had already said last month that various breakouts of COVID-19 in China had already led to supply shortages — and that the issue hit amid economic uncertainty around the globe and nagging inflation driven by energy prices.
“A lot of people in a lot of places are struggling,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said during a conference call last month. “We are still living through unprecedented times.”
Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
The company’s key manufacturing plant in the Chinese city of Zhengzhou has been facing waves of protest, as employees publicly challenge China’s “zero-COVID” policy that has repeatedly led to sweeping, longterm lockdowns and crackdowns in all areas of life for nearly three years. Protests, which are rare in China, have also been spreading across the country.
Last week, dramatic video circulated online of workers at Apple contract manufacturer Foxconn clashing in brutal ways with security guards in haz-mat suits, protesting wages and poor food rations, among other concerns. Foxconn, which employs about 200,000 people around the world, is Apple’s biggest iPhone maker. It makes about 70% of iPhones shipped globally.
In a statement on its website last week, Foxconn denied that employees who tested positive for COVID-19 had been living in its on-site dormitories. The company also claimed that “allowance has always been fulfilled” in terms of paying employee contracts.