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Apple warns iPhones will take longer to ship due to COVID-19 curbs in China plant

China's zero-COVID policy disrupts Apple's production just in time for a busy holiday shopping season. The tech company said it would ship fewer iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max models because of coronavirus restrictions in its plant in Zhengzhou.

A Cupertino-based company said COVID-19 restrictions temporarily disrupted its main iPhone assembly facility in China's central city of Zhengzhou. It said it would ship fewer new iPhone models despite "strong demand."

"The facility is currently operating at significantly reduced capacity," Apple said in a statement. As a result, customers would experience longer wait times to receive their new products, it said.

The plant in Zhengzhou, owned by the Taiwanese company Foxconn, manufactures most of the world's iPhones. Chinese authorities locked down the factory's area last week following a COVID-19 outbreak.

The move led to panic among the employees, some of whom fled the closed-down district. Foxconn said it quadrupled daily bonuses to workers to keep them from escaping and promised even heftier financial incentives if they continue putting in their "full effort" throughout November.

Reuters reported that iPhone production in Zhengzhou could fall by as much as a third and said Foxconn was seeking to boost production in its other facility in Shenzhen.

"We are working closely with our supplier to return to normal production levels while ensuring the health and safety of every worker," Apple said.

The company has recently started making its iPhone 14 models in India to diversify its supply chains. Foxconn and two other Taiwanese companies, Pegatron and Wistron, are Apple's suppliers in India. All three are expanding there as troubles mount in China.

Even though China's zero-COVID policy has led to criticism that it was hurting businesses and international trade, Beijing shows no signs of giving it up.

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