Apple suppliers in China eye February 10 restart after coronavirus shutdown

By

Terry Gou
But there's a definite chance of further delays.
Photo: Foxconn

Apple’s manufacturing partners in China hope to jump back into action next week, after the coronavirus epidemic forced temporary shutdowns in the country, according to a new report.

Foxconn, LG Display and others “plan to resume full-scale production” on February 10. But with the viral outbreak only worsening as the weeks go on, there’s a definite chance of further delays.

The new coronavirus has infected more than 20,000 people and killed more than 400 since it broke out in Wuhan, China, earlier this month. As a result of the epidemic, the Chinese government locked down certain regions and halted travel.

The outbreak is having a significant impact on manufacturing for companies around the world that heavily rely on partners in China. Reliable TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo this week warned that iPhone shipments could fall by as much as 10% this quarter as a result.

But Apple’s partners are fighting to get back on track.

Foxconn plans February 10 return

Foxconn “said Tuesday it still expects to be able to restart facilities throughout China on schedule,” reports Bloomberg, citing a text message from the company. LG Display, Quanta Computer, Inventec Corp. and others are also targeting a February 10 return. However, the report warned that doubts about this timing “have grown in recent days” as the coronavirus spreads. A manufacturing restart as early as next week seems unlikely at this point.

“The main variable is whether the government will push back the time for resuming production, though it is not very likely given the complexities of organizing transportation for the returning migrant workers,” GF Securities analyst Jeff Pu told Bloomberg.

Coronavirus impact could be ‘big’

Sources for Reuters revealed on Monday that Foxconn, Apple’s biggest manufacturing partner, has been forced to suspend “almost all” production in China as a result of the coronavirus. One source also warned that the shutdown could last a while.

And if it does last longer than one week, “the impact would be big,” the source said.

In response to the outbreak, Apple temporarily closed some of its stores in China. CEO Tim Cook also revealed last week that the company is working on finding “alternate sources” for components to reduce the epidemic’s impact on iPhone manufacturing.

Cult of Mac has asked Apple for comment on its latest plans.