Foxconn hiring freeze unrelated to production of Apple's iPhone 5

AppleInsider may earn an affiliate commission on purchases made through links on our site.

Apple manufacturing Partner Foxconn has halted recruitment of new hires until the end of March, but the decision was not made related to production of the iPhone 5.

Bruce Liu, spokesman for Foxconn, dispelled rumors in an interview with Bloomberg, and revealed that the hiring freeze was put into place after more workers returned from the Chinese New Year break than did last year.

Earlier Wednesday, a report from the Financial Times claimed that the hiring freeze was implemented as production of the iPhone 5 has begun to slow. That comment was attributed to Foxconn spokesman Liu Kun.

The contradicting reports come as new data found that both Apple's 2012 iPhone 5 and the 2011 iPhone 4S were the two most popular smartphones in the world in the fourth quarter of last year. Both devices bested Samsung's flagship Galaxy S3, and accounted for one in five smartphone sales even without the inclusion of the still-available iPhone 4, which can be purchased for free with a new service contract.

Rumors of slowing iPhone 5 production hit Apple's stock in early trading on Wednesday, sending shares down as much as 1.9 percent. However, shares began to recover some of those losses later in the morning as the initial report was disputed.