Apple eyes moving iPhone production out of China in wake of violent worker protests: Report

Apple Inc. , has accelerated its plan to move iPhone production out of China in the wake of violent workers’ protests over COVID regulations at the world’s largest iPhone factory, the Wall Street Journal reported Saturday.

The factory, dubbed iPhone City, has made headlines in recent weeks after workers rioted over COVID-related concerns with security officers in protective suits.

Apple is said to be looking to shift its production towards other countries in Asia such as India and Vietnam and reduce reliance on Taiwanese electronics manufacturers such as Foxconn which owns the facility in Zhengzhou.

In this photo provided on November 23, 2022, security personnel in protective clothing attack a man during a protest at the factory complex run by Foxconn Technology Group which operates the world’s largest Apple iPhone factory in Zhengzhou, central China. (AP Photo/AP Newsroom)

Apple CEO Tim Cook brushes off questions about whether he supports the protests in China

But according to a report from CNN earlier in the week, Foxconn may also be looking to shift its business outside of mainland China.

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According to the report, it’s not clear exactly when Apple will be able to completely shift its reliance on the iPhone City facility which is home to about 300,000 workers and at one point accounted for 85 percent of the Pro lineup of iPhones.

But Apple’s decision comes after years of manufacturing problems stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, supply chain issues and strained geopolitical relations between Washington and Beijing presented a more complex plan of action.

In this photo provided Nov. 23, 2022 employees at the world’s largest Apple iPhone factory are beaten and detained in protests over payment amid anti-virus controls, according to witnesses and videos on social media on Wednesday, as tensions rose over Chen. (The Associated Press/AP Images)

China factory activity declines amid renewed COVID-19 restrictions

“In the past, people didn’t pay attention to the dangers of concentration,” Alan Young, former CEO of the US company Foxconn, told the Wall Street Journal. “Free trade was the norm and things were very predictable. Now we have entered a new world.”

Apple may also look to rely on a larger pool of aggregators even from within China in order to circumvent its supply chain, while the company also looks to secure reliable manufacturers that can handle what Apple calls a new product introduction, or NPI.

Apple signs iPhone in Beijing

A man wearing a face mask walks past a portrait of the iPhone 13 Pro at an Apple Store on the day the new Apple iPhone 13 series goes on sale in Beijing, September 24, 2021. (Reuters/Carlos Garcia Rollins/Reuters Photo)

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According to the report, NPI is the process by which Apple translates the blueprints of its latest products into a detailed manufacturing plan — a step countries like India and Vietnam may not yet be able to grasp.

“Finding all the pieces to build to the scale Apple needs is not easy,” former Apple COO Kate Whitehead told the publication.

Fox News Digital could not immediately reach Apple for comment.

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