For the first time in history, Foxconn will not receive new product information from Apple.
According to WCCFTech, Foxconn will still be responsible for assembling the Pro series for Apple, and these plans remain unchanged for the upcoming iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max. However, starting in 2024, Apple’s main partner seems to be losing the contract to assemble the iPhone 16 Pro Max to another supplier, Luxshare.
Analysts believe that Apple wants to minimize risk by pushing the production orders for the iPhone 16 Pro Max exclusively to Luxshare, especially after Foxconn’s factory in Zhengzhou faced trouble.
According to sources, Foxconn has not received New Product Information (NPI) regarding the iPhone 16 Pro Max for the first time in history. Instead, Luxshare has been granted exclusive access to information about this phone, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. NPI is the longest process in transitioning a product from the concept stage to a ready-to-market mass production stage.
Luxshare is currently a secondary supplier for Apple’s iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max, and Apple states that it wants to reduce risk by granting exclusive assembly responsibility for the iPhone 16 Pro Max to this company.
Meanwhile, Foxconn’s complex in Zhengzhou (also known as the “iPhone City”) is Apple’s largest iPhone manufacturing facility in the world, producing 70% of iPhones globally. At its peak, the facility requires up to 200,000 workers.
In 2022, hundreds of workers participated in protests at this factory, triggering a series of unrest at Foxconn. According to Reuters, the reason behind the protests was that the workers, mostly newly hired individuals in recent weeks, clashed with security personnel at the factory. Many believed they were deceived regarding the subsidies at the factory, while others complained about living in dormitories with colleagues who tested positive for COVID.
However, the unrest at the world’s largest iPhone manufacturing facility has been simmering for a while. Earlier this month, Foxconn’s main iPhone production plant in Zhengzhou had to shut down strictly due to COVID-19 cases. As the infection cases increased within and around the factory, the Chinese government implemented lockdown measures in early November 2022. And an additional concern regarding wages possibly became the tipping point.
Foxconn stated in a statement that they have fulfilled payment contracts and personnel reports, emphasizing that the production activities at the factory are not affected by the labor unrest and that the output remains “normal.”
“With regard to any violent acts, the company will continue to communicate with employees and the government to prevent similar incidents from happening again,” the company added.
Insider sources revealed that Foxconn still received NPI for the iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 models, while Pegatron received NPI for the iPhone 16 Plus. Therefore, it seems that Apple believes Luxshare’s production capabilities have reached the level of a first-tier supplier and are ready to handle orders for the 16 Pro Max model.
Overall, if this happens, it will cause significant damage to Foxconn. Luxshare is expected to be able to produce 45-50 million units of iPhones in 2023, a considerable increase compared to around 20 million units in 2022.