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Factory Riots in China Spur 60-Day MacBook Pro Delays

MacBook Pro (16-inch, M1 Max)
(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Quanta Computer is thought to be the sole manufacturer of MacBook Pro 14 and 16 laptops for Apple. With these machines primarily coming out of this solitary ODM's Shanghai facilities, supplies have been hit very hard by China's lockdowns and related efforts to stop the spread of Covid-19. According to Taiwan's United News Network, Quanta's pandemic-affected production lines have led to delays of up to two months from customer order to delivery of the laptops mentioned.

We reported on laptop supplies being battered by China's latest implementation of anti-pandemic measures about a month ago. That report made specific mention of Shanghai-based contract laptop manufacturers being affected. In a follow-up report a fortnight ago, we noted that Quanta Computer had been experiencing assembly line disruptions since the city lockdown began on March 28.

Another of today's story sources, DigiTimes, says that Quanta Shanghai has suffered from production levels as low as 5% of its potential due to anti-pandemic measures. However, Quanta's vice chairman CC Leung reportedly said that production was operating at up to 30% capacity as we traversed from April into May. It is currently looking to scale production lines back up to 50% capacity.

Factory employee riots are also mentioned in the United News Network report; however, we don't get much detail about these events. Riots were presumably about the working conditions, with employees doing extended shifts, living, sleeping and eating on the premises. It sounds like some were pushed too far from an acceptable work-life balance and missed home life.

As per our headline, the Quanta Computer production problems are having a bad effect on Apple MacBook Pro availability. Both the 14- and 16-inch models, sporting Apple's M1 processors, can't readily be bought by Apple fans in some regions. Many reports are pointing towards delays from order to fulfillment of about two full months or longer for custom configurations.

China Lockdowns Continue

The newest variant of Covid-19, often referred to as Omicron, is proving much more difficult to eradicate than previous strains. China's strict lockdowns had been effective enough to stop the spread of pre-Omicron Covid, but with the new variant being so readily transmissible, it looks like its zero-covid policy is a detriment to many industries. In contrast, Taiwan decided to give up its zero-covid policy after Omicron started to get a foothold a few weeks ago. The democratically governed island has over 80% of the population double vaccinated using vaccines from the likes of Pfizer, Moderna and Astra Zenica.

Mark Tyson
Mark Tyson

Mark Tyson is a Freelance News Writer at Tom's Hardware US. He enjoys covering the full breadth of PC tech; from business and semiconductor design to products approaching the edge of reason.

  • cryoburner
    Factory employee riots are also mentioned in the United News Network report; however, we don't get much detail about these events. Riots were presumably about the working conditions, with employees doing extended shifts, living, sleeping and eating on the premises. It sounds like some were pushed too far from an acceptable work-life balance and missed home life.
    So Apple's slave labor is revolting? How will they continue to sell their products with such large profit margins?

    Though I would not be surprised if the "riots" were largely down to people getting quarantined alongside others without proper medical treatment or just other necessities, and being locked in the facility and not allowed to leave. The country has a tendency of being rather heavy-handed with attempts to control the populace, and being locked in cramped factory dorms might not be much different from being in a prison.
    Reply