Foxconn, the world’s largest contract electronics producer, has stated the majority of its spending on manufacturing amenities will proceed to be in China, regardless of the most important disruption at its vegetation brought on by Beijing’s zero-Covid coverage.

Foxconn chair Liu Younger-way advised traders on an earnings name on Thursday that the latest upheaval at its 200,000-strong manufacturing facility city in Zhengzhou, which led to some employees scaling fences and strolling dwelling, was a disaster created by the pandemic.

The hit to manufacturing of iPhones pressured a uncommon warning from Apple this week of decrease iPhone 14 Professional and iPhone 14 Professional Max shipments than anticipated, and clients experiencing longer wait occasions to obtain their merchandise.

The upper transmissibility of the virus and “the nation’s dynamic zero- Covid coverage”, had been in charge, Liu stated. “The right way to meet these necessities is a problem for us. Not simply Zhengzhou, however different vegetation and our opponents face the identical problem.” He stated he hoped Beijing may change its coverage because the virus turned much less lethal.

The remarks had been uncommon coming from the Taiwanese firm, which is China’s largest private-sector employer and exporter and usually steers away from any feedback that could possibly be interpreted as political.

Liu downplayed the chance that the Zhengzhou disruption may enable rivals to grab Apple orders from Foxconn. Though he conceded that the corporate wanted to regulate its pandemic administration mannequin, he stated the biggest portion of capital funding for subsequent yr would nonetheless stream to China, alongside investments in factories in Vietnam, India and Mexico.

Liu stated the necessity for reallocating capability in response to the pandemic wouldn’t drive diversification of the corporate’s manufacturing footprint past China. “There are different drivers behind that, like geopolitics. Capability reallocations for these causes are extra probably,” he stated.

His feedback got here as the price of managing manufacturing beneath Beijing’s draconian Covid-19 management measures, together with hovering inflation, ate into Foxconn’s profitability. The group’s gross margin, which Liu goals to regularly enhance to 10 per cent, dropped to six.16 per cent within the third quarter from 6.4 per cent within the three previous months.

Foxconn’s web revenue for the September quarter was NT$38.8bn ($1.2bn), a 5 per cent enhance in contrast with the identical interval final yr however under analysts’ expectations of NT$41.3bn.

The corporate stated it anticipated income to be flat within the present quarter and subsequent yr. Whereas its shopper electronics enterprise was more likely to be weaker in 2023 than this yr, cloud merchandise, private computer systems and digital parts would proceed to drive development, it stated.

Liu stated the corporate would do no matter it may to regulate capability to fulfil demand from its clients for the upcoming Christmas and Lunar New Yr season.

The disruption was uncommon for Foxconn, as the corporate’s massive community of factories throughout China enabled it in earlier phases of the pandemic to keep away from disruptions that hit rivals reminiscent of Pegatron, one other Taiwanese-owned iPhone maker. Manufacturing was “regularly returning to regular” in Zhengzhou, Liu stated.

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