Apple Inc. (AAPL): iPhone Production Thaws Hiring Freeze in China

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is the E.F. Hutton of the 21st century. When Apple talks, people listen. Granted, Apple doesn’t talk very loudly in that it doesn’t make a huge public deal about any new devices before it is ready to officially launch them. So any news about an anticipated device winds up coming from the rumor mill or news items from the supply chain.

Consider this one of those supply-chain stories. It is being confirmed by multiple sources that Foxconn, the biggest  manufacturing partner for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has broken a two-month hiring freeze by adding nearly 10,000 workers each week for the last couple of weeks at the company’s Zhengzhou plant, which is the one that predominantly works on iPhone devices. My colleague, Chris Bibey, brought up an initial report about this from Bloomberg News Monday. A French press agency is confirming the story, going a step further by saying that all of the hires have been at the Zhengzhou plant, which currently employs about 300,000 people but had been ona hiring freeze since early February.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)

The hiring freeze was first considered a regular seasonal event, as workers tended to stay away around the Chinese New Year, while other sources  said it had something to do with waning support for the Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone.

But now, as all of the new Foxconn hires are reportedly focused on the iPhone plant in Zhengzhou, that seems to indicate that production is ramping up for what may be a new iPhone – no word whether this is Apple’s iPhone 5S or a new lower-cost iPhone that has been rumored about for months.

We must note, to be responsible, that Foxconn does have other clients for which it manufactures. But we just find it noteworthy that these recent 30,000 hires have been a Zhengzhou and not spread across the several factories in China that are run by the Taiwan-based company.

What are your thoughts about this news? If this means that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is due to bring out a new iPhone soon, what do you think is coming? Is is an updated iPhone 5 or the lower-cost iPhone from Apple, designed for emerging markets like China, Brazil and India? Give us your thoughts in the comments section below.

DISCLOSURE: I own no positions in any stock mentioned.

Image credit: Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)