Taiwanese iPhone maker tries to restore production after protests

Foxconn, also known by its legal name Hon Hai Precision Industry, is the world’s largest contract electronics manufacturer, assembling gadgets for many international brands.

Taiwanese tech giant and major Apple supplier Foxconn said on Monday it was hiring new workers and on its way to “restoring production capacity to normal” after violent clashes at its central China factory last month.

Foxconn, also known by its legal name Hon Hai Precision Industry, is the world’s largest contract electronics manufacturer, assembling gadgets for many international brands.

Most of its factories are in China, including the eastern city of Zhengzhou, where lockdowns were imposed last month as part of Beijing’s zero-Covid policy following a spike in infections.

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Violent workers’ protests then erupted over wages and working conditions at the plant, which Foxconn later blamed on a “technical flaw” in its payment systems.

Hundreds of workers marched in Zhengzhou — dubbed “iPhone City” as home to the world’s largest smartphone factory — with some clashing with riot police and health workers in hazmat suits.

Foxconn said in a statement Monday that it was working with local government to ensure safe production and “make every effort to protect the rights and interests of workers.”

“At present, the overall epidemic situation has been brought under control, with November being the most affected period,” it said.

It reported that sales in that month were down 11.4 percent from the previous year and 29 percent from October.

“In addition to reallocating production capacity to different factories, we have also started recruiting new employees and are gradually moving towards normalizing production capacity.”

The company said its outlook for the final three months of the year was expected to be “roughly in line with market consensus” but did not provide figures.

Foxconn previously said it was downgrading its outlook for the last quarter. Some analysts have predicted sales could fall by as much as 20 percent.

Testing requirements were eased in Beijing and other Chinese cities, including Zhengzhou, on Monday as the country cautiously relaxes its zero-Covid policy, sparking protests across the country.

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