According to a report out of Hong Kong, blue-collar applicants are arriving in droves at the world’s largest assembly center for Apple iPhones, where staff says it takes just a few hours to turn a young, unskilled migrant worker from rural China into a production line operator.
A recruitment center at the sprawling Foxconn factory in central China’s Zhengzhou city operates like a well-oiled machine, rapidly processing people and plugging them into Apple’s extensive global supply chain.
Outside such hiring centers, hundreds of eager jobseekers wait in line – many fresh off trains or buses, often with their luggage in tow – expecting that their first night will be spent in a factory dormitory.
The bar for getting a job is quite low, with able-bodied applicants between the ages of 16 and 48 likely to be accepted for work in what has long been dubbed “iPhone City”.
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A young applicant in her early 20s says she has never worked in a factory, having been trained as a nurse in a vocational school. But she decided to apply for a Foxconn job "just for fun," adding that "I’m just tired of being a nurse."
The need for Foxconn workers is almost insatiable ahead of next week’s release of Apple’s iPhone 12, which is available for pre-order starting this Friday. Demand is keeping the factory running 24/7. Analysts expect the new phone, Apple’s first model with 5G mobile communications capability, to be a big seller as loyal iPhone users worldwide upgrade.
Potential workers at this massive facility near the airport in the capital of Henan province know what they are getting themselves into, as information about salaries and accommodation is made public. One of the biggest selling points of a Foxconn job is that it gives new hires a 10,000 yuan (US$1,488) bonus if they work at least 55 days during their first three months of employment.
Today, the Zhengzhou complex is one of the largest production facilities in all of China, helping keep the country deeply embedded in the global supply chain. By all accounts, the Foxconn factory is the economic center of the surrounding area. And the massive population of young people with good-paying jobs has created a vibrant consumer community.
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Despite persistent talk of firms reducing reliance on China by shifting production to other markets such as India, or even moving production facilities to the US, China remains the single most important manufacturing base for companies such as Foxconn. For more on this, read the full South China Morning Post (SCMP) report.
In a second SCMP report today they noted that over 2.3 million Chinese consumers have signed up for the US smartphone giant’s new handset series on major e-commerce sites. As of 10am on Friday, over 1.5 million people had made reservations to buy iPhone 12 handsets from the official Apple store on JD.com, a major e-commerce site in China. The standard iPhone 12 had over 737,000 user bookings, while the iPhone 12 Pro had 390,000, according to company information.
Contrary to the SCMP report claiming there's been a lukewarm reception online for the iPhone 12, we reported on Wednesday that there were 6 billion messages on Weibo and ranked the number one topic on Weibo that day.