iPhone-makers in India suspend production for COVID-19 lockdown

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Foxconn and Wistron plants in India are out of action for now.
Photo: Carnegie Council

iPhone assemblers in India have been forced to suspect production due to a country-wide COVID-19 lockdown, according to a report published on Wednesday.

Facilities owned by Foxconn and Wistron are out of action for now. Production won’t resume until Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government lifts new lockdown measures.

The restrictions in India, which came into effect at midnight local time on Wednesday, enforce “a total ban on venturing out of your home,” Modi said. They are designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

“The entire country will be in lockdown, total lockdown,” for 21 days, Modi announced. He also warned that if India could not “handle these 21 days well, then our country … will go backwards by 21 years.”

The lockdown extends to all manufacturers, which means local Apple partners must suspend production for now.

iPhone suppliers shut down in India

Bloomberg has confirmed that both Foxconn and Wistron are adhering to the order. Neither would comment on which products might be affected, but their primary focus is on older iPhone models.

Wistron chairman Simon Lin said during an earlier call that he expects the lockdown to be a “short-term” issue. Production can be quickly resumed again once the restrictions are lifted, Lin insisted.

Only a small number of Apple devices are manufactured in India and all are sold locally. The lockdown won’t affect supply elsewhere, then, but it will temporarily impact Apple’s push for local growth.

Apple also has an office in Hyderabad, India, which employs thousands of people working on Apple Maps. This, too, will likely be impacted by the lockdown.

India’s drastic fight against coronavirus

India’s lockdown, which applies to almost every citizen, is one of the strictest imposed by any government so far. The country hopes that its measures will significantly slow the spread of COVID-19.

It comes as the number of coronavirus cases surprassed 430,000, according to the Johns Hopkins coronavirus tracker. The number of deaths related to COVID-19 is now at more than 19,000.