Many holiday shoppers looking to snap up the latest Apple iPhone will have to wait until next year because of shortages caused by violent protests at its main plant in China.
The protests in Zhengzhou — sparked by low pay at the Taiwan-owned Foxconn plant and China’s draconian COVID lockdown measures — have resulted in the loss of production of nearly six million fewer iPhone Pros, according to experts.
“Apple is essentially caught in the cross-fire heading into the all-important Christmas time period,” said Wedbush analyst Dan Ives in a note to clients. “We estimate that Apple now has significant iPhone shortages that could take off roughly at least 5% of units in the quarter and potentially up to 10% depending on the next few weeks in China around Foxconn production and protests.”
Production of iPhones could be hampered even further if China’s COVID-19 lockdowns continue in the weeks ahead, Bloomberg reported, citing a source familiar with the matter. Foxconn’s plant is Apple’s key source for the premium iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max models – both of which are hot items this year.
Apple shares fell more than 2% in trading Monday on the news of the iPhone production shortfall. The company’s stock is down about 20% so far this year.
China’s controversial “Covid Zero” policy is already causing “major iPhone 14 Pro shortages” at Apple stores heading into December, Ives said. He added that Apple is “extremely limited in their options for holiday season” due to the production standstill in China.
A source told Bloomberg that Apple and Foxconn expect to make up for the production losses in 2023.
The Post has reached out to Apple for comment on the situation.
Protests against the “Covid Zero” policies implemented by President Xi Jinping have spread throughout the country, with students in Beijing among those who took to the streets to demand an end to lockdowns.
The Zhengzhou plant has been a site of continued unrest in recent months, with thousands of workers fleeing the facility last month due to unsafe working conditions. Replacement workers have pushed for better pay and an end to restrictive quarantine measures.
Last week, stunning footage showed security forces, clad in protective suits and using riot shields, as they violently clamped down on the Foxconn workers.
Apple acknowledged earlier in the month that issues in Zhengzhou would hamper its production goals, though the company did not provide the scope of the issue.
“The facility is currently operating at significantly reduced capacity,” Apple said in a statement.
“We continue to see strong demand for iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max models.
“However, we now expect lower iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max shipments than we previously anticipated,” the company added.