Apple looking to move iPhone production out of China in wake of violent worker protests: report

Apple looks to move business to India or Vietnam

Apple Inc., is accelerating its plan to move iPhone production out of China in the wake of violent worker protests over COVID regulations at the world’s largest iPhone factory, a report by the Wall Street Journal said Saturday. 

The plant, dubbed iPhone City, made headlines in recent weeks after workers revolted over COVID-related concerns with security officers decked out in hazmat suits.

Apple is reportedly looking to shift its production toward other nations in Asia like India and Vietnam and to reduce dependence on Taiwanese electronics manufactures like Foxconn which owned the facility in Zhengzhou.

Apple China

In this photo provided Nov 23, 2022, security personnel in protective clothing attack a man during protest at the factory compound operated by Foxconn Technology Group who runs the world's biggest Apple iPhone factory in Zhengzhou in central China's (AP Photo / AP Newsroom)


APPLE CEO TIM COOK IGNORES QUESTIONS ON WHETHER HE SUPPORTS PROTESTS IN CHINA

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

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
AAPL APPLE INC. 145.93 +1.97 +1.37%

It is unclear exactly when Apple will be able to fully shift its dependence on the iPhone City facility that houses some 300,000 workers and at one point accounted for 85 percent of the Pro lineup of iPhones, according to the report. 

But the decision by Apple comes after years of manufacturing woes stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, supply chain issues and strained geopolitical relations between Washington and Beijing which have lent to a more complicated business plan. 

In this photo provided Nov 23, 2022 employees at the world's biggest Apple iPhone factory were beaten and detained in protests over pay amid anti-virus controls, according to witnesses and videos on social media Wednesday, as tensions mount over Chin (Associated Press / AP Images)

CHINA'S FACTORY ACTIVITY DROPS AMID RENEWED COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS

"In the past, people didn’t pay attention to concentration risks," Alan Yeung, a former U.S. executive for Foxconn, told the Wall Street Journal. "Free trade was the norm and things were very predictable. Now we’ve entered a new world."

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

Apple sign for iPhone in Beijing

A man wearing a face mask walks past an image of an iPhone 13 Pro at an Apple Store on the day the new Apple iPhone 13 series goes on sale, in Beijing, Sept. 24, 2021.  (REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins / Reuters Photos)

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX BUSINESS APP

According to the report, NPI is the process in which Apple translates the blueprints of its latest product into a detailed manufacturing plan – a step nations like India and Vietnam may not yet be able to accommodate. 

"Finding all the pieces to build at the scale Apple needs is not easy," Kate Whitehead, a former Apple operations manager told the publication. 

Fox News Digital could not immediately reach Apple for comment.