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May 11, 2021updated 12 May 2021 10:56am

Covid-19 causes 50% productivity drop at iPhone 12 factory in India

By Eric Johansson

Apple has already warned it may miss out on up to $4bn in sales this quarter because of the coronavirus-related semiconductor shortage, but now the pandemic has also halted its iPhone 12 production in India.

The purple smartphone unveiled at last month’s event is front and centre in Cupertino’s plans to come out stronger than ever on the other side of the pandemic. However, the growing health crisis in India has forced the output at electronics manufacturer Foxconn’s iPhone factory to slump by half, according to sources speaking with Reuters. More than 22.66 million infections and 246,000 deaths have officially been recorded in the country, with experts fearing that the true number could be even higher.

The facility produces iPhones specifically designed for the Indian market, which is the second-biggest smartphone market in the world. The factory is in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, which is one of the worst-hit regions in India’s second wave of Covid-19 infections. Officials imposed a full lockdown in the region yesterday, closing public transport and shops.

Sources speaking with the news agency claim that over 100 workers at the Foxconn factory have contracted the contagion and that the plant has imposed a re-entry ban until the end of this month.

Foxconn told Reuters it has provided medical assistance to infected employees and that “the health and safety of our employees” is the company’s “highest priority” as it deals with coronavirus chaos engulfing the nation.

The news comes as profits at Apple continued to boom. In April, the iPhone maker announced another blowout round of quarterly results after demand for electronic devices and sales in the App Store skyrocketed during the pandemic. This saw the iMac maker’s profits jump to $89.6bn in the first three months of 2021.

However, things may be about to change. The $2tn company has warned that the global chips shortage will throttle iMac and iPad sales this quarter. The scarcity has been caused by soaring demand and shrinking supply in semiconductors because of Covid-19, severe weather and factory fires. Apple warned it could lose out on $3bn to $4bn in iMac and iPad sales because of the shortage. It is unclear how the productivity hit at the Foxconn plant will affect this.