Kuo Warns of Delays and Low Labor Return Rates at Apple Supplier Factories in China Due to Coronavirus [Updated]

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo today sent out a note to investors warning them to pay close attention to the epidemic changes of the coronavirus outbreak in China as it is impacting Foxconn, Pegatron, and other Apple suppliers.

In the note, Kuo outlines the status of several major Apple suppliers as workers prepare to return to factories to resume production on Apple products.


Foxconn's Zhengzhou site, which Kuo says is the most critical production site for the iPhone 11 and the upcoming low-cost iPhone, is seeing significant delays. Foxconn originally planned to resume work on February 2, but that has been postponed by at least one week. Kuo estimates that the labor return rate will be 40 to 60 percent of what it was prior to the Lunar New Year holiday when the facility reopens.

Work at Foxconn's Shenzhen location focuses on the new 2020 iPhones, and the development team there, which accounts for 30 percent of total manpower, did not take a break during the holiday. Kuo says the plan initially filled other manpower gaps, but it has been postponed for at least a week. Labor return rates are estimated at 30 to 50 percent.

Foxconn has moved production equipment to its sites in Taiyuan and India because of the delays in China, but production capacities are limited in those locations.

A report yesterday suggested that Chinese health officials had denied Foxconn's plans to reopen its factories after conducting on-site inspections and finding fault with poor airflow and the use of central air conditioning, but Chinese authorities in a statement today said that they had not blocked Foxconn from resuming production.

According to new information from Reuters, officials in Shenzhen's Longhua district where Foxconn's largest factory is located said that the report was untrue and that it was still conducting checks. Production at Foxconn facilities will restart when inspections have been completed, and Foxconn has submitted coronavirus prevention proposals that include temperature checks, requiring employees to wearing masks, and implementing a safe dining system.

Pegatron, another Apple supplier, resumed work on ‌iPhone 11‌ production and new iPhone 12 development at its Shanghai factory on February 3, with a labor return rate of 90 percent, but Kuo believes that the labor rate will fall to 60 or 70 percent because many factory employees will resign after they get paid in February.

Pegatron's Kunshan factory in charge of production on the new low-cost ‌iPhone‌ was meant to return to work on February 10, but that has been postponed "at least several days" with an estimated labor return rate of 40 to 60 percent when it reopens.

Kuo declined to provide new shipment forecasts because "there are still many uncertainties," but last week he lowered his iPhone shipment forecast by 10 percent to 36 to 40 million units during Q1 2020 due to the coronavirus.

Depending on when Apple's supplier factories reopen, there could be a significant impact on device supplies resulting in longer shipping and wait times for new devices and potential delays for devices rumored to be to launching early in the year like the low-cost ‌iPhone‌.

Update: Reuters reports that, as of February 10, under 10 percent of Foxconn's workforce have returned to its Zhengzhou factory. The report claims that Foxconn has not yet been allowed to resume operations at its Shenzhen facility.

Update: Reuters now reports that Foxconn has received Chinese government approval to resume production at its Shenzhen factory.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
22 weeks ago
Hopefully these workers aren't forced to come in and make phones while being worried about being infected by the coronavirus. they are already treated like ****. everyone can wait a few extra months for their new instagram-time sucking machine.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
22 weeks ago
Seems as of now to be a low impact.

Apple is likely burning through inventory, but still has cushion. More delays could cause problems, but people will ultimately wait for their iPhones.

If anything, this just shifts units to the next quarter.

I have a lot of confidence in Apple’s world class supply chain.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
22 weeks ago
The new coronavirus will be pandemic worldwide soon. It's too late to be stopped. Yes, you might see a doctor if you survived in a line for days outside a hospital. Then the guard in front of the hospital will say "Sorry, we have no space for you. Go back home". I was told this were happening in China now.

Buy N95 masks, sanitizer, and food. Oh, you can't buy the mask as all are already sold out.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
22 weeks ago


Corona virus loses viability at higher 38C+ temperatures and >95% humidity so either move manufacturing to Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, etc. or mimic the environmental parameters in China.

So, you are saying they should make the Foxconn factories literal sweat shops?
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
22 weeks ago
Corona virus loses viability at higher 38C+ temperatures and >95% humidity so either move manufacturing to Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, etc. or mimic the environmental parameters in China.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
22 weeks ago


Yeah...some of us use our phones for business purposes so please speak for yourself.

your business needs are not more important than people's lives
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

iPhone 12 Sizes Compared with iPhone SE, 7, 8, SE 2, X, 11, 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max [Update]

Tuesday July 7, 2020 6:49 pm PDT by
Apple is planning on launching the iPhone 12 this fall which is rumored to be coming in 3 different sizes: 5.4", 6.1" and 6.7". The middle size (6.1") matches up with the currently shipping iPhone 11, but the other two sizes will be entirely new. Over the weekend, there was some excitement about how well the new 5.4" iPhone 12 compares to the original iPhone SE. Those who have been hoping...

Everything New in iOS 14 Beta 2: New Calendar Icon, Files Widget and More

Tuesday July 7, 2020 11:38 am PDT by
Apple today released the second beta of iOS 14 to developers for testing purposes, tweaking and refining some of the features that are coming in the update. Below, we've rounded up all of the changes that we found in the second beta. - Calendar icon - There's a new Calendar app icon in iOS 14 beta 2, with the day of the week abbreviated rather than spelled out. - Clock icon - The clock...

Hands On With iPhone 12 Models Showing New Sizes and Design

Monday July 6, 2020 2:04 pm PDT by
Ahead of the launch of new iPhones we often see dummy models created based on leaked schematics and specifications, with those models designed to let case makers create cases for the new devices ahead of their release. We got our hands on a set of dummy models that represent the iPhone 12 lineup, giving us our first close look at the iPhone 4-style design and the different size options. Subscri ...

Developer's Visual Comparison of macOS Catalina and Big Sur Offers Closer Look at Apple's UI Redesign for Macs

Tuesday July 7, 2020 4:00 am PDT by
macOS 11 Big Sur is the next major release of Apple's operating system for Mac, and following its preview at WWDC, one of the biggest discussions has revolved around the all-new user interface redesign. Developers are still learning what the impact the new UI will have on their apps, and with that in mind, app designer Andrew Denty has compiled an extensive visual comparison of the user...

Analyst Believes iPhone 12 Pricing Will Start $50 Higher Even Without EarPods or Charger in Box

Wednesday July 8, 2020 9:35 am PDT by
Despite multiple reports indicating that Apple will not include EarPods or a wall charger with iPhone 12 models this year, one analyst believes that pricing will still increase slightly compared to the iPhone 11 lineup. In a research note provided to MacRumors, analyst Jeff Pu forecasted that iPhone 12 pricing will start at $749 for a new 5.4-inch model, an increase of $50 over the base...

14-Inch MacBook Pro With Mini-LED Display Expected to Enter Production in 2021

Wednesday July 8, 2020 7:51 am PDT by
Apple suppliers will begin competing to win manufacturing orders for new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models with Mini-LED displays in the first quarter of 2021, according to Taiwanese research firm TrendForce. Rumors of a 14-inch MacBook Pro have surfaced since Apple replaced the 15-inch MacBook Pro with a new 16-inch model last year. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has previously said that...

Apple Seeds First Betas of iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 to Public Beta Testers

Thursday July 9, 2020 10:14 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the first public betas of upcoming iOS and iPadOS 14 updates to its public beta testing group, two weeks after first providing the updates to developers after the WWDC keynote and a day after seeding the second developer betas. Public beta testers who have signed up for Apple's beta testing program can download the iOS/‌iPadOS‌ 14 updates over the air after installing ...

Apple's Arm-Based Macs With Apple Silicon Chips Will Support Thunderbolt

Wednesday July 8, 2020 3:14 pm PDT by
Apple is working on Macs that use its custom Apple-designed Apple Silicon chips instead of Intel chips, but Apple has committed to continuing to support Thunderbolt, reports The Verge. In a statement, an Apple spokesperson said that Apple's upcoming machines will offer support for Intel's Thunderbolt USB-C standard. "Over a decade ago, Apple partnered with Intel to design and develop...

Apple Cuts iPhone Trade-In Values as iPhone 12 Launch Nears

Tuesday July 7, 2020 7:46 am PDT by
With just two months to go until the usual timeframe for Apple's iPhone launch events, Apple is cutting back on maximum trade-in values of previous-generation iPhones for those looking to upgrade to a new model. Maximum values on more recent models have dropped by $30–$50, while older models have generally dropped by $5–$20 with a few models seeing no change in value.iPhone XS Max: $500 to...

Some iPhone Users Report Significant Battery Drain Due to Music App Background Activity in iOS 13.5.1

Wednesday July 8, 2020 1:49 am PDT by
A significant minority of iPhone users have taken to Apple's Support Communities and Reddit to report battery drain issues largely related to the Music app and high levels of background activity. Hundreds of users, many running iOS 13.5.1 on devices both new and old, are experiencing rapid battery drain when the Music app is not in use. In some cases, the background activity occurs over...