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‘iPhone City’ is miserable

The Foxconn factory stopped hiring, workers left, leaving Zhengzhou – known as the iPhone city – deserted. In early May, a video with the content “Foxconn is no more. Even Zhengzhou is silent” spread on Chinese social networks. The video was shot in a town a few kilometers away from the Park of Science and Technology (Foxconn)( In which, the dormitory doors are bolted, almost no people come in and out. Restaurants, eateries are empty, the streets are quiet, long lines of buses lie on the road. A desolate landscape covers the town – where Foxconn located the world’s largest assembly plant (iPhone)( Soon after, a series of videos with similar content appeared. A video that has garnered 5.8 million views titled “Foxconn has really left, affecting the surrounding shops immediately” depicts long lines of shops with closed signs, shopping malls only Scattered few sellers, no visitors, furniture scattered everywhere. According to *China Business News*, 10 years ago, when Foxconn didn’t come, it was just a small town with more than 10,000 inhabitants. But in 2013, Foxconn’s factory went into operation, attracting millions of workers from all over China. Restaurants, motels sprang up, “iPhone city” became a bustling place. Zhang Mei, a user on Douyin – TikTok China version, commented: “Foxconn has moved many production lines. This place is like being thrown back to the time when it was a quiet village.” Despite having dormitories, many Foxconn workers still prefer to stay outside with friends and family. Guo Zhengang, who specializes in providing accommodation services, said he has 30 rooms for rent but only one guest at this time. That person also just left last week due to Foxconn reducing salary, not enough to cover life. Jun Zhi Qiyi, the owner of a barber shop near the Foxconn factory, said he has been operating here for seven years. This was the first time he had witnessed such a desolate scene. “May is a low season, but previous years are not so gloomy. The town is unusually quiet, many days there are no customers to my shop,” he said. According to *IT Times*, one of the reasons why this place is deserted is an ongoing evacuation at the iPhone factory. The scale of production is shrinking, workers’ income from 10,000 yuan (34 million dong) in the spring has dropped to 3,000-4,000 yuan (10-13.6 million dong) from March. Zaho Tuo, who used to assemble iPhones, said his income has halved, lower than even in his hometown. Tuo said working in the factory was like a game of chance when workers were not selected to work in any department, more or less work. In the end, he decided to take a break to return to his hometown. *Reuters* comments “spring” at the iPhone factory ( .html) in the context of assembly workshops shrinking, low profits, few orders. Some factories are moving production lines out of China. India is considered a potential destination. Statistics from the Electronics and Mobile Association of India from April 2022 to February 2023 show that India’s smartphone export value reached 9 billion USD, of which the iPhone accounted for more than 50%. Foxconn’s recruitment partner said that in the first quarter of the year, orders from Zhengzhou and Shenzhen factories fell sharply. The need to find workers accordingly also disappeared. A factory insider said: “Many orders have been shipped to India. Since last year, some managers have also been transferred to this country.” In February, *Bloomberg* reported that Foxconn was planning to build a $700 million factory in the southern Indian state of Karnataka because Apple wanted to move 25% of its production to the country. The new facility is expected to employ nearly 100,000 workers, equivalent to a third of the workforce at Foxconn’s Zhengzhou factory. The quiet scene in “iPhone city” also became a controversial topic on Chinese social networks. Many people blame Foxconn moving its production line to India for making this place no longer the iPhone capital. Others said that it was the conflicts taking place in the factory that caused Apple to find another solution. According to some analysts, Foxconn also has no other choice because its iPhone assembly contracts are getting less and less. Recently, market analyst Ming-chi Kuo said that Foxconn may no longer be Apple’s main partner in iPhone production. Luxshare is said to be in charge of the exclusive assembly of the iPhone 16 Pro Max. If true, this is the first time in history that Foxconn has lost the right to produce Apple’s latest high-end iPhone model. Jun Zhi Qiyi thinks that by July – two months before the new iPhone launches, this place will be busy again. However, many people believe that despite the peak season, it is difficult for Zhengzhou to return to its heyday. Workers like Zaho Tuo say he won’t be returning because work and wages have both dropped significantly. “There’s no denying the fact that the last few years, the lives of workers here have become increasingly difficult. Without them, the ‘iPhone city’ would perish and disappear,” said a shuttle driver.



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