China county gathers retired PLA personnel for work at the largest iPhone plant in the world to strengthen its position in Apple’s supply-chain

Foxconn Technology Group
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Retired People’s Liberation Army (PLA), from China, are being rallied by a county to work in the world’s biggest iPhone factory. It is operated by Apple supplier Foxconn Technology Group. This latest indication of how hard local authorities are working to restore production at Zhengzhou, capital city of central Henan.

The Changge veteran affairs office, a county that has a population of 710,000, was under the administrations of the city Xuchang (Henan). On Tuesday, an open letter was posted asking PLA veterans to “answer government’s call” as well as “take part in resuming production” at Foxconn’s Zhengzhou factory complex. According to the letter, they should “showup where there’s an need.”

The open letter was part of an overall campaign by Henan local authorities to recruit new workers for Foxconn’s Zhengzhou compound. Tens to thousands of panicked workers fled the compound in late October and early November due to a Covid-19 virus outbreak. The Changge veteran affairs bureau’s letter was later deleted without explanation by its official channel on the social media platform .

According to the South China Morning Post, Henan authorities are mobilizing their grass-roots governance system to recruit workers for Foxconn. The news comes after Zhengzhou and its surrounding areas were locked down. Apple issued a warning last week about a slowdown in the shipments of its iPhone 14 Pro Max and Pro Max models.

Local authorities also encouraged local cadres from the cities of Kaifeng, Jiyuan, and Henan to “form groups” that would work at Foxconn’s Zhengzhou facility for at most a month, according a report from the Shanghai Securities Journal. This is a daily newspaper owned by the state.

Henan must help restore normal production at Foxconn’s Zhengzhou compound to ensure its supply chain role and protect the local economic environment, according to Mei Xinyu of China’s Ministry of Commerce.

Foxconn, originally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry in Taiwan, is a significant local employer with up to 300,000. Its massive Zhengzhou manufacturing plant employs over 300,000. It is the world’s leading electronics contract manufacturer and also one of the biggest exporters and taxpayers.

Zhengzhou serves as the hub of China’s transport network. There are railways connecting Zhengzhou to Europe and its international terminal.

Mei indicated that China’s supply chains will be strengthened by the Henan authorities taking steps to stabilise Foxconn operations in Zhengzhou.

Henan’s extraordinary actions show concern that Apple could experience further disruptions in its production, which could lead to increased production diversification outside China.

Foxconn added more iPhone production capacity at an existing Indian factory in its push to diversify beyond China. According to an August report from Indian daily The Economic Times which cited unnamed source, Foxconn.

The Taiwanese firm’s competitors in the electronics contract manufacturing industry, which is also Apple suppliers, has already begun moving production capacity to Vietnam. BYD Electronics and Luxshare Precision Industry are two of these companies that make AirPods.

According to a report from the government-run Henan Daily, an initial batch of new assembly line employees arrived at Foxconn’s Zhengzhou plant last Sunday. Foxconn accepted almost 20,000 job candidates by Saturday night, as reported by The Beijing News.

Three days is required for new recruits to remain at a local quarantine facility before they are picked up by shuttle bus to go to Foxconn’s Zhengzhou factory. Each recruit will receive 1,600 yuan ($227) the first four days they are working in the assembly line.

Foxconn offers a 500 yuan bonus to return workers and quadrupled daily attendance bonus to 400yuan from the beginning of the month.

Foxconn chairman Liu Youngway said last week the Zhengzhou facility was “making attempts to restart normal productivity so soon as possible”. Due to the effects of the pandemic in Zhengzhou, the company would revise its outlook for its fourth quarter.

China county gathers retired PLA personnel for work at the largest iPhone plant in the world to strengthen its position in Apple’s supply-chain

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