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Apple extends wait time in China for popular iPhone 14 models

Apple has extended the wait time in mainland China for its most popular iPhone 14 models beyond Christmas, as major supplier Foxconn Technology Group scrambles to resume full production capacity at its factory in Zhengzhou, capital of central Henan province.

A check on Apple’s China website on Monday showed a five-to-six week waiting time for the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max models, with the latest delivery stretching out to January 3, 2023. The wait was a week longer than it took in early November, and two weeks longer than orders made in late October.

The base models – the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus – however, are available for same-day delivery or in-store pickup.

The prolonged delay has prompted anxious mainland consumers to turn to social media to express their disappointment and look for guidance, reflecting continued strong domestic demand for Apple’s flagship device in the world’s largest smartphone market.

All of Apple’s latest iPhone models in China have suffered from an extension in lead time, which refers to the period of production from initiation to completion, according to a recent report by JPMorgan. It indicated that the two iPhone 14 Pro models had the longest lead times across all regions.

China accounted for 15 per cent of all iPhone shipments worldwide, the report said.

Yuri Gu, a financial professional living in southern Guangdong province, said she has been checking the delivery status every day since placing an order for an iPhone 14 Pro on November 2, while searching various social media platforms for updates on other consumers’ order delivery status.

While she thought about cancelling her order on Apple’s online store and placing a new one on local e-commerce platforms, Gu said she found the same delay persists across all online retail channels.

Although her order showed shipping dates from November 25 to December 2, Gu said she thought it could ship earlier than the promised dates.

“Based on my previous experience with new iPhones, products are usually delivered ahead of schedule,” she said. “But the chances are looking slim this year, based on what I saw on social media. It’s very frustrating.”

Some mainland consumers are sharing their iPhone order status updates to provide a reference for those waiting on their own orders.

“I bought it on November 6. When can it ship?” asked one user on Chinese microblogging service Weibo. “Do let me know when your order is delivered. My order was placed a day after you,” one of the replies said.

Foxconn, formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry, has moved to entice new recruits for its iPhone assembly lines with higher pay and bonuses, following an exodus of tens of thousands of workers because of a Covid-19 outbreak at its Zhengzhou manufacturing complex.

That led Apple on November 6 to warn about delays in iPhone shipments. “The facility [at Foxconn’s Zhengzhou facility] is currently operating at significantly reduced capacity … we now expect lower iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max shipments than we previously anticipated,” the company said in a statement.

Taiwan-based Foxconn’s Zhengzhou plant needs 100,000 workers to resume full production capacity, according to a report last week by China Newsweek, a state-backed magazine. At its peak, the facility employs up to 300,000 assembly line workers.

The veteran affairs bureau in Changge, a county under the administration of the city of Xuchang in Henan, had earlier posted an open letter urging retired People’s Liberation Army personnel to “take part in the resumption of production” at Foxconn’s Zhengzhou complex. South China Morning Post

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