Foxconn: No delays in iPad supply after explosion

Production was suspended at Foxconn factory in China, pending investigation into last week's explosion that killed three people.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read

The explosion at a Foxconn factory on Friday that killed 3 workers and injured another 15 will not affect production of Apple's iPad or iPhone, according to comments made by the company yesterday.

Apple's iPad Apple

The factory near Chengdu, China, has temporarily suspended production while police investigate the explosion.

In a meeting with suppliers yesterday, Terry Gou, chairman of Foxconn parent company Hon Hai, reportedly emphasized that the explosion would not delay iPad 2 production or new products related to the iPad or iPhone that are set for production in the third quarter, according to China Times (Google Translate version).

The explosion was initially reported to have killed two, but The Washington Post reported that Foxconn confirmed a third death over the weekend.

Foxconn and Apple did not immediately respond to CNET's requests for comment.

The cause of the Chengdu factory explosion is still unknown, but Foxconn officials said it might have been created by combustible dust in a polishing workshop, according to the Journal.

If so, the explosion may have been foreshadowed by a report released earlier this month from Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (SACOM). That report cited a number of problems at the Chengdu plant.

"Workers do not have adequate training on usage of chemicals and do not have regular on-post health examinations," noted SACOM's report (PDF). Interviewees also complained they suffer from allergies but said that management does not probe health concerns. Workers also noted poor ventilation and inadequate protective gear.

Analysts expect the explosion will have a minimal impact on production.

RBC analyst Mike Abramsky said in an investors note cited by China Times that if the factory in Shenzhen could handle production of the iPad or the Chengdu factory could be restored quickly, then the impact would be limited. Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu also noted that Foxconn can rely on other factory lines for the iPad, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Earlier this month, however, Foxconn was already facing shortages in both parts and labor, according to Taiwan's DigiTimes. Pointing to the Chengdu plant specifically, the article said that shortages have cut into overall production, now estimated at 2.5 million to 3 million iPad 2 units per month.