Longtime iPhone assembler Foxconn, formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., plans to cut workers’ hours over the weeklong Lunar New Year holiday, which begins Feb. 8, according to Reuters. The move is seen by analysts as a signal of slowing demand for Apple’s latest devices — the iPhone 6S and the 6S Plus.
Foxconn’s production cuts contrast with previous years, when workers did overtime to meet production needs for clients such as Apple.
To stem any layoffs, Foxconn was offered an 82 million yuan ($12.53 million) subsidy by the government of Zhengzhou, the capital city of the Henan province in eastern China.
This latest news of a slowdown follows a string of reports indicating lower-than-expected shipments for the iPhone 6S. On Tuesday, a report from Nikkei pointed to the iPhone supply chain anticipating output cuts by 30 percent during the January–March quarter to allow vendors to clear out their inventory.
This year, Apple is expected to post its first year-over-year drop in iPhone shipments, according to a research note issued by Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty.
Some analysts say it's all part of the broader slowdown in China. "We were already conservative about the first quarter," analyst Kylie Huang at Daiwa-Cathay Capital Markets in Taipei told Reuters. “It's not just iPhone slowdown but all of the Chinese economy."
The Chinese economic slowdown is expected to affect the growth of smartphone shipments for 2015, which is anticipated to come in at 9.8 percent, for a total of 1.43 billion units, down from 27.6 percent growth in 2014, according to IDC forecasts.