Foxconn, the huge company that makes high-tech products including the Apple iPhone, said Wednesday that a recruitment freeze at its vast facilities in China was not due to slowing production of the iPhone5.
"Due to an unprecedented rate of return of employees following the Chinese New Year holiday compared to years past, our company has decided to temporarily slow down our recruitment process," said a Foxconn statement Wednesday.
Some dispute that. A story Wednesday by the Financial Times in London said the hiring freeze comes amid poor iPhone5 sales.
The Chinese website yicai.com, a financial news site based in Shanghai, reported that Foxconn facilities in central China's Zhengzhou and southern China's Shenzhen have stopped recruiting workers but will employ more robots in the future.
The recruitment center website for Foxconn in Henan province carries a headline saying the firm will not hire for the next half year.
Boosted by global demand for Apple's electronics, the Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn has grown into mainland China's largest private-sector employer, with 1.5 million workers. So news of hiccups in its operations can spark market concerns worldwide.
Apple shares fell $11.14, or 2.4%, to $448.85 Wednesday.
Many employees are not at work this week due to Chinese Lunar New Year. The annual New Year festival, falling this year Feb. 9-24, is a time when almost all Chinese factory workers head back for once-a-year visits to often-distant hometowns.
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