Tag Archives: Foxconn

Apple To Move MORE iPhone Production Out Of China!

Apple has accelerated its plans to leave Zhengzhou in China, where the massive iPhone City manufacturing zone is located!

 

Apple To Move MORE iPhone Production Out Of China!

As anti-government protests continue across China, Apple is accelerating its plans to leave Zhengzhou – where the massive iPhone City manufacturing zone is located!

Apple CEO Tim Cook is now eyeing Vietnam and India as new manufacturing hubs to replace Zhengzhou, where Foxconn workers earlier fled amidst repeated protests.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple now plans to move to 45% of iPhone production to factories in India, and ramp up production of its MacBooks, Apple Watches and AirPods in Vietnam.

Those moves come with serious challenges as Apple faces having to deal with different regional government bureaucracies in India.

Meanwhile, Vietnam only has 10% of China’s population, and can only handle a 60,000 person factory – far smaller than the 300,000 person “iPhone City” in Zhengzhou.

So Apple is still considering switching to other suppliers in China – Luxshare Precision Industry Co. and Wingtech Technology Co., although these alternate plans may be jeopardised by the Chinese government’s persistence with its Zero COVID policy.

Read more : China Lifts Some COVID-19 Restrictions Over Protests!

 

Apple Earlier Planned To Move iPhone Production Out Of China!

While Apple had been planning the move for months due to the Chinese government’s insistence on Zero COVID policy, the recent uprisings at its Zhengzhou manufacturing hub has accelerated those plans.

In November, iPhone City in Zhengzhou erupted in violent protests by Foxconn employees over strict Zero COVID policies and pay disputes, prompting a lockdown.

This forced Foxconn to offer $1,400 to quit their jobs, and later, a $1,800 bonus to stay. Even so, manufacturing at Zhengzhou is down to about 20% of its capacity.

Foxconn has tried to shift some of its production to its Shenzhen factory, but it cannot make up the shortfall, which is reported to be as much as 6 million iPhone Pro smartphones.

Things got so bad the Chinese government even called on military veterans and CCP members to work at the iPhone City factories as volunteers!

 

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Apple Limits AirDrop To Help China Prevent Protests!

Find out how Apple has quietly limited AirDrop to help China prevent anti-government protests!

 

Protestors In China Use AirDrop To Organise + Bypass Censors!

China has been rocked by anti-government protests, that started at the in Zhengzhou, but later spread to at least seven cities.

Despite efforts by the CCP government to censor and block efforts to organise demonstrations, Chinese protestors were able to bypass the “Great Firewall” using the Apple AirDrop feature.

AirDrop is a proprietary feature that allows for the wireless transfers of files between Apple mobile devices and computers. It was used to great effect in 2019, when protestors in Hong Kong used it to bypass the China’s “Great Firewall” and organise their demonstrations.

Now, Chinese citizens are using the AirDrop feature of their iPhones to circulate information about planned demonstrations, or memes and messages opposing Chinese President Xi Jinping, or the Chinese government.

Since AirDrop communicates directly between Apple devices, it works even when the authorities shut down mobile communications and Internet connectivity.

Read more : iPhone Factory Under Lockdown, As Employees Flee!

 

How Apple Helps China Limit Protests Using AirDrop!

Unfortunately, Apple quietly introduced an update on November 9, 2022 to severely restrict the AirDrop feature on iPhones sold in China.

In the past, iPhone users in China could set AirDrop to accept files from Everyone without any time limit, allowing them to discreetly send and receive files from strangers.

The iOS 16.1.1 update introduced a 10 minute limit for AirDrop, making it impossible to receive files from strangers.

While it is still possible to receive files from strangers, users will have to repeatedly reset the setting to Everyone for 10 Minutes, which is not practical.

On top of that, the new time restriction on AirDrop affects all iPhones sold in China, regardless of which country your App Store account is based in. So foreigners who purchased their iPhones in China will be similarly affected.

Recommended : Apple Freezes Use Of China’s YMTC NAND Chips!

It is not surprising that Apple would bend the knee to the CCP government. After all, China accounts for almost a fifth of Apple’s total sales!

In 2021, it was even reported that Apple CEO Tim Cook signed a secret $275 billion deal with China in 2016 to “solve” regulatory problems.

The relationship between Apple and the CCP government in China appears to be so strong that when Foxconn employees fled the massive iPhone factory in Zhengzhou, Beijing ordered military veterans and Communist Party members to fill in for the labour shortage!

It will now be up to the Chinese protestors to figure another way to bypass the Great Firewall. Jia you!

 

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He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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iPhone Factory Under Lockdown, As Employees Flee!

The massive iPhone factory in Zhengzhou is now under another COVID-19 lockdown, after thousands of employees fled!

 

iPhone Factory Now Under COVID-19 Lockdown!

On Wednesday, 2 November 2022, China placed the Zhengzhou Airport Economy Zone under a new COVID-19 lockdown. This is where Foxconn has its largest iPhone factory, employing about 200,000 workers

The Zhengzhou industrial zone, located in the Henan province, was placed under “silent management” measures with immediate effect, and last for one week – until November 9, 2022.

  • all residents are barred from going out
  • only approved vehicles are allowed on the road

Foxconn said in a statement that its campus will continue operating under a “closed loop” management system, in which employees sleep, live and work in a bubble, isolated from the rest of Zhengzhou and the world.

A source with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters that such a lockdown could cut production of Apple iPhones by as much as 30%, and that Foxconn was working to boost production at their Shenzhen factory to make up for the shortfall.

Read more : Apple Freezes Use Of China’s YMTC NAND Chips!

 

Employees Have Been Fleeing iPhone Factory For Days!

For several days now, Foxconn employees have been fleeing the Zhengzhou factory, after some workers were placed under quarantine following a COVID-19 outbreak.

The Foxconn employees also complained of poor food quality, and a lack of medical care for those who tested positive.

On Sunday, 30 October, Foxconn said that it would not stop them from leaving, and many workers chose to walk back to their hometowns.

Videos of those employees climbing over fences, and walking away from the factory went viral. So did photos and videos of those Foxconn workers trekking across fields in the day, and long roads at night.

Some people were walking amid wheat fields with their luggage, blankets and quilt. I couldn’t help but feel sad.

Those videos galvanised volunteers from nearby villages to put out food and drinks for the workers. Foxconn and several local governments finally arranged transportation for them.

Workers who were transported back to their hometowns were quarantined on arrival. A belated measure that should have been initiated earlier.

 

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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

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XPeng Engineer Guilty Of Stealing Apple Car Secrets!

An XPeng engineer just pleaded guilty to stealing trade secrets from the Apple Project Titan self-driving car program!

Here is what we know so far…

 

XPeng Engineer Guilty Of Stealing Apple Car Secrets!

A former Apple engineer who joined Xpeng – the Chinese electric vehicle maker, just pleaded guilty to the criminal charge of stealing trade secrets from the Apple self-driving car program!

Zhang Xiaolang initially pleaded not guilty to the charges, but he reached a plea deal with prosecutors and changed his plea to guilty, according to court documents released on Monday, August 22, 2022.

The plea deal is sealed, so the details are unknown. Zhang’s attorney, Daniel Olmos, confirmed the plea agreement but declined to comment on the details. Sentencing however is set for November 2022.

Zhang faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, and a $250,000 fine. With this plea deal, he should serve a much shorter sentence.

In addition to Zhang, US federal prosecutors also charged Chen Jizhong with stealing secrets from the Apple self-driving car program. Chen, however, continues to plead not guilty, and will have his day in court on August 29, 2022.

Chen is also represented by the same lawyer as Zhang – Daniel Olmos.

Recommended : Did China Make 7nm Chips In Spite Of US Sanctions?!

 

How XPeng Engineer Stole Apple Car Secrets!

Zhang Xiaolang worked on the Apple Project Titan autonomous vehicle program as a hardware engineer between 2015 and 2018, during which he designed and tested circuit boards.

He travelled to China during his paternity leave in 2018, and on returning in April 2018, he told his boss at Apple that he was leaving to work for XPeng (Guangzhou Xiaopeng Motors Technology) in China.

XPeng, also known as XMotors in the United States, is a Chinese electric car startup backed by Alibaba, Foxconn and IDG Capital. It has developed electric cars like the XPeng G3 and XPeng P5.

His boss felt that Zhang was “being evasive” during the meeting. There was also increased network activity and visits to his office, before he resigned. All that led to an internal Apple investigation of his two company-issued phones and laptop.

That’s when they discovered that Zhang had been downloading confidential files from the Apple lab during his time away. He was also caught on CCTV removing circuit boards and a Linux server from their lab.

Zhang’s network activity was found to consist of “both bulk searches and targeted downloading copious pages of information from the various confidential database applications“.

Recommended : US Mil Contractor Admits Selling Aviation Secrets To China!

Zhang was arrested at the San Jose airport in July 7, 2018, before he could board a last-minute, one-way flight to China aboard Hainan Airlines.

In an interview with Apple’s security team, Zhang admitted that he downloaded the data online, and removed hardware from its labs. He also admitted to the FBI that he stored the files he downloaded on his wife’s laptop.

The FBI described the data he stoled as “largely technical in nature, including engineering schematics, technical reference manuals, and technical reports“.

The files – about 24 GB worth – include a 25-page document containing engineering schematics of a circuit board, as well as technical manuals and PDFs related to the Apple self-driving car prototype.

The other Apple engineer to be charged with stealing secrets of its autonomous car project – Chen Jizhong – was accused of stealing stolen thousands of sensitive documents, as well as 100 photos taken inside its self-driving facility – all discovered in a hard disk drive he owned.

Chen was also arrested when he attempted to board a flight to China, ostensibly to visit his ill father.

Recommended : TikTok Leak : China Repeatedly Accessed Private User Data!

 

XPeng Denies Involvement In Theft Of Apple Car Secrets!

XPeng said in a Weibo post that it was aware of the plea agreement from media reports, but it was “not clear about the details, nor involved in further investigation conducted by US law enforcement“.

It has been more than four years into the case, and we are not aware of the specifics of the case and have not been involved in the follow-up investigation of the case by the US judiciary.

We also have no relevant dispute with Apple and have no connection with the case. We strictly abide by relevant laws and attaches great importance to intellectual property protection.

Zhang joined XMotors in May 2018, but the company quickly distanced itself from its employee, stating on July 11, 2021 :

There is no indication that he has ever communicated any sensitive information from Apple to XMotors.

XMotors always has strictly abided by the laws of China and the United States and takes protection of intellectual property rights seriously.

Company spokesperson Isabel Jiang also stated that once they were notified in late June 2018 that US authorities were investigating Zhang, they secured his computer and office equipment and denied him access to his work. They subsequently fired him.

XPeng also said that Zhang signed an intellectual property compliance document on the day he joined, and that there was “no record that he reported any sensitive and illegal situations” to the company.

 

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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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Exasperated Apple Shifts Some iPad Production Out Of China!

Apple has gotten so exasperated that they shifted some iPad production out of China for the first time!

Here is what we know so far…

 

Exasperated Apple Shifts Some iPad Production Out Of China!

Apple has reportedly shifted some of its iPad production out of China, over the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown in Shanghai.

Strict lockdowns in and around Shanghai after a surge in COVID-19 cases have led to months of supply chain disruptions for Apple, even though their factories operated in a closed loop.

Apple built production lines in Vietnam with the help of China’s BYD, and will “soon start to produce” some iPads there.

Apple had asked Foxconn to move iPad and MacBook Pro production from China to Vietnam in 2020, with plans to manufacture a significant proportion of iPads there. However, a COVID-19 surge in 2021 delayed those plans.

Even though China has started to lift their Zero COVID restrictions in Shanghai, Apple is unlikely to reverse these plans to shift production to Vietnam.

This will be the second major production line to shift to Vietnam. Apple shifted almost 30% of AirPods production to Vietnam in the second quarter of 2020.

 

Apple Also Asked Suppliers To Build Up Inventories

Apple also asked multiple component suppliers to build up their inventories, to prevent supply chain disruptions from affecting production.

One of the people with direct knowledge of this issue said :

For example, component supplier X has a 40% share of Apple’s business in Jiangsu Province, which is a risky region of supply chain disruption, and supplier Y in another city accounts for the remaining 60% share.

Apple would want supplier Y to build enough additional components to match supplier X’s 40% share in the coming months in case production in Jiangsu is shut down again.

If China continues with its Zero COVID policy, it is likely that Apple and other companies will seriously look at shifting more of their production to other countries.

Supplies of electronics from China’s factories have been severely impacted by their strict COVID-19 lockdowns, even though some factories are allowed to use a closed loop system.

There is also worker welfare to consider – there is only so much they can tolerate the closed loop system, where workers are restricted to factory campuses for weeks on end.

In early May, workers at the Quanta factory producing MacBook laptops in Shanghai rioted over the closed loop system, and fled the factory.

 

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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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Foxconn To Build New 12-Inch Wafer Fab In Malaysia!

Foxconn just announced that they will be building a 12-inch wafer fab in Malaysia!

Here is what you need to know…

 

Foxconn To Build New 12-Inch Wafer Fab In Malaysia!

On 17 May 2022, Foxconn announced that their wholly-owned subsidiary, Big Innovation Holdings Limited (BIH) will form a joint venture company with Dagang NeXchange Berhad (DNeX), to build and operate a new 12-inch wafer fabrication plant in Malaysia.

Both DNeX and BIH have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate on build and operate the new 12-inch wafer fab.

Under the MOU, DNeX and BIH will work together to “decide the location of the New Fab in Malaysia, financing structure of the project, and initial management structure and key personnel of the New Fab.

The new fab is expected to produce 40,000 wafers a month, using 28-nanometer and 40-nanometer process technologies developed in 2011 and 2008 respectively.

The 28nm and 40nm process technologies are not new, but they are still in high demand for less complex chips used in industrial, consumer electronics and automotive applications.

 

New 12-Inch Foxconn Wafer Fab In Malaysia : Not A Done Deal

While this is exciting news for Malaysia, it is not a done deal. Both companies only signed a Memorandum of Understanding, not a contract.

There are no concrete details of where the wafer fab will be located, or how much Foxconn will invest. It is also unknown how many jobs this project would create.

One would do well to remember the $10 billion project that Foxconn announced with the Trump Administration in July 2017.

Foxconn was supposed to build and operate a 20-million square foot manufacturing campus in Wisconsin, that would build flat panel displays, and create 13,000 jobs, in return for $3 billion in subsidies.

In the end, that massive flat panel project was abandoned and downsized into a network operations and storage centre worth about $672 million, creating only 1,454 new jobs.

 

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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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