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

Updated Dec 19th, 2018 8:36PM EST

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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 Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.