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Strong demand prompts Apple suppliers to work during Chinese New Year

Two of Apple's Chinese manufacturing partners are said to be foregoing a traditional work stoppage during the important Chinese New Year in a bid to meet ongoing high demand for the iPhone 5 and iPad mini.

Labor


Details regarding the work schedule change are scarce, but Taiwan's United Daily News (via Brightwire) claims that Hon Hai Precision Industries and Flexium Interconnect will keep certain production lines open during the Chinese New Year to keep up with demand for Apple's newest iDevices. For 2013, China's most important holiday will start on Feb. 10.

According to the publication, Hon Hai, better known as Foxconn, will be operating a number of iPhone and iPad mini assembly lines, while Flexium will keep its factory in Kunshan, Jiangsu Province staffed with "a large number" of trained student workers.

If true, the work continuation will mirror an identical decision made in 2011 by Apple manufacturing partner Pegatron, which reportedly offered employees triple pay to work over the Chinese New Year. No such bump in pay has been reported for 2013.

A move to keep production facilities online during the holiday would be an indication that supply is just barely meeting demand, as evidenced by the U.S. Apple Online Store's one-week wait time for all iPad mini models. As for the the iPhone 5, Apple proceeded with its most ambitious rollout ever and debuted the handset in its 101st market, the Caribbean island of St. Kitts, on Thursday. As pointed out by Fortune's Philip Elmer-Dewitt, the latest launch received little fanfare from press outlets.