COVID-19 lockdowns in China disrupt manufacturing at major Apple suppliers

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COVID-19 shutdowns in Shanghai and neighboring Kunshan have disrupted major makers of Apple Inc. products, with suppliers forced to halt manufacturing.

Companies affected by the lockdowns include Pegatron Corp., which makes iPhones in Shanghai and Kunshan; Quanta Computer Inc., which makes MacBooks for Apple and devices for Dell Corp. and HP Development Co. LP in Shanghai’s Songjiang District; and Compal Electronics Inc., which manufactures iPads in Kunshan.

Nikkei Asia announced today that affected companies have been forced to halt production since early April in accordance with government lockdown orders. Although factories aren’t the only suppliers of Apple products — Foxconn is the best known — Foxconn’s Shenzen factory that makes iPhones was forced to temporarily cease operations last month after COVID-19 shutdowns. She has since resumed production.

The critical point for Apple is that major supply lines at all levels are disrupted and there appears to be no prospect of manufacturing resuming in Shanghai and Kunshan. Although not yet seen in retail supply, the effect will be a likely shortage of Apple products in the coming months.

The lockdown in Shanghai began on March 28 amid a surge of Omicron cases and was originally meant to last just a week but has now been extended indefinitely. The lockdown has brought near unprecedented scenes for mainland China, where the Chinese Communist Party does not allow dissent.

There have been reports of rioting and looting in Shanghai amid food shortages and even thousands of residents shouting from their balconies against the government and the lockdown. The CCP responded by sending out a drone telling residents to shut up and abide by the restrictions.

Amid scenes of widespread dissent, the Chinese government has eased some restrictions slightly. From Monday, there is now a three-tier disease control system that allows residents of areas where no cases have been reported for 14 days to leave their homes as long as they follow health protocols and stay in their sub-district.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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