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Foxconn has 150,000 workers building the iPhone 5 and still can’t keep up with demand

Zach Epstein
September 25th, 2012 at 11:20 AM

Apple (AAPL) announced earlier this week that it sold 5 million iPhone 5 smartphones during the handset’s first three days of availability but that staggering figure didn’t please some analysts, who were expecting opening weekend sales to reach as high as 10 million units. The idea that weaker than expected demand may have been the culprit for the discrepancy can likely be set aside, however, as a new report suggests that Apple has dramatically increased iPhone 5 orders for the month of October.

Citing unnamed market watchers, Digitimes on Tuesday reported that Apple may have doubled its monthly iPhone 5 orders with manufacturing partner Foxconn from as few as 8 million units in September to as many as 16 million in October.

The site states that strong market demand has placed a great deal of pressure on Foxconn, which currently has more than 150,000 workers at its plants in Zhengzhou, China working exclusively on assembling iPhone 5 handsets. Despite the staggering workforce dedicated to building Apple’s smartphone, the manufacturing giant is still reportedly experiencing a labor shortage that it hopes to resolve soon by recruiting more workers with the help of the government in Zhengzhou.

“To assist Foxconn in resolving its labor issue, in addition to help the company recruit workers, the government of Zhengzhou is also offering employment subsidies to attract workers,” Digitimes’ sources said.

Apple’s new iPhone 5 launched on September 21st and sold out at numerous retail stores across the country. The phone features a bigger 4-inch display, 4G LTE, a faster A6 processor and a completely redesigned aluminum case that is just 7.6 millimeters thick.

Zach Epstein

Zach Epstein has worked in and around ICT for more than 15 years, first in marketing and business development with two private telcos, then as a writer and editor covering business news, consumer electronics and telecommunications. Zach’s work has been quoted by countless top news publications in the US and around the world. He was also recently named one of the world's top-10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes, as well as one of Inc. Magazine's top-30 Internet of Things experts.

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