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Shenzhen shutdown hitting Foxconn & other Apple suppliers hard

Apple's Mac Studio and other products may arrive with consumers later than expected, with a COVID lockdown in Shenzhen, China impacting manufacturers and shipments.

Following its introduction on March 8, preorders for the Mac Studio started to slip from a delay of a few weeks into orders arriving in up to 12 weeks. However, a new COVID-19 lockdown may cause those orders to be further delayed.

A spike in infections in Hong Kong has prompted the Chinese government to place Shenzhen into lockdown, reports the Associated Press.. Under the order, everyone in the city, which has a population of 17.5 million people, will face three rounds of testing, as part of a "zero tolerance" strategy against the virus.

With the exception of companies supplying food, fuel, and essential goods or services, all businesses were ordered to close or implement work-from-home policies. It is expected that the lockdown will persist until March 20 at the earliest.

The decision was made after Hong Kong reported more than 32,000 new infections on Sunday, while the neighboring Shenzhen reported 60 new cases.

The measure is a problem for the global supply chain, as Shenzhen is a business and technology center that plays host to manufacturers working for major companies. Apple is one of them, with assembly partner Foxconn one of the largest with facilities in the area.

In statements released on Monday seen by Nikkei Asia, Foxconn's Longhua and Guanlan factories suspended production until further notice, while also temporarily shifting production to other facilities elsewhere. Subsidiary General Interface Solutions (GIS), a producer of touch panels, also confirmed it was halting production.

Unimicron, a major circuit board producer and Apple supplier, is also stopping production. However, the company said its important ajinomoto build-film (ABF) substrate isn't affected as it is produced elsewhere, so the global ABF substrate shortages won't be impacted.

In an email to AppleInsider, a reader writes that their Mac Studio order had shipped on Saturday, with an origin scan in Shenzhen. After noticing reports about the lockdown, they checked and found the UPS app was saying the order was preparing to ship, whereas a status on Apple Card said it wasn't, adding to the confusion.

Apple's partners have had to deal with COVID-19 outbreaks hurting production, with a report from January revealing Foxconn was carrying out frequent testing and mandating strict travel restrictions to minimize risk.

Update March 14 6:15am ET: Added confirmations of factory shutdowns.