FirstFT: Workers clash with police at Foxconn’s iPhone plant

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Violent worker protests have erupted at the world’s largest iPhone factory in central China as authorities at the Foxconn plant struggle to contain a Covid-19 outbreak while maintaining production ahead of the peak holiday season.

Workers at the factory in Zhengzhou shared more than a dozen videos that show staff in a stand-off with lines of police armed with batons and clad in white protective gear. The videos show police beating workers, with some bleeding from their heads and others limping away from chaotic clashes.

Beijing’s strict zero-Covid regime has posed big challenges for the running of Foxconn’s Zhengzhou plant, which typically staffs more than 200,000 workers on a large campus in the city’s suburbs. Wednesday’s unrest will heighten investor concerns about supply chain risk at Apple, with more than 95 percent of iPhones produced in China.

Problems at the plant earlier this month led Apple to cut estimates for high-end iPhone 14 shipments and to issue a rare warning to investors over the delays.

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1. China announces $30bn in credit lines for property sector China’s state-owned banks have launched a concerted effort to strengthen the finances of the country’s struggling property developers, with more than Rmb220bn ($30.7bn) being announced yesterday in new credit lines.

2. Most Federal Reserve officials back slower rate rises ‘soon’ A “substantial majority” of Federal Reserve officials support slowing down the pace of interest rate rises soon, even as some warned that monetary policy would need to be tightened more than expected next year, according to an account of their most recent meeting.

3. Swaths of Ukraine left without power Russia fired dozens of missiles at Ukraine yesterday, leaving swaths of the country and more than half of neighboring Moldova without power, in Moscow’s latest attempt to cripple civilian infrastructure.

4. Sam Bankman-Fried issues mea culpa to former employees Sam Bankman-Fried has told former FTX employees that excessive borrowing by his own trading firm Alameda Research was responsible for FTX’s demise, insisting he was unaware of the margin positions taken by the traders.

5. Twin bomb blasts in Jerusalem kill teenager Twin bomb blasts hit bus stations in Jerusalem on Wednesday morning, killing a 15-year-old and injuring at least 15 others, in what Israeli police said they suspected was a co-ordinated terror attack. The detonations, which took place during the morning rush hour, are the first bombings in Jerusalem since 2016.

The day ahead

Interest rate decisions South Korea and Turkey policymakers will both issue decisions on interest rates today. In South Korea, policymakers are expected to raise interest rates by 25 basis points — marking a slower pace of tightening. Turkey’s rate-cutting streak is set to continue. (Reuters, FT)

World Cup Brazil kick off against Serbia today. Neymar, 30, may have his last shot at winning Brazil’s sixth World Cup. He has already posted an Instagram picture of the country’s crest bearing the sixth star.

At 30, Neymar is a different footballer than the poor kid from the port town of Santos who emerged a decade ago © FT montage; AFP/Getty

What else we’re reading

China’s Covid policy flip-flop stokes frustration Analysts and investors had hoped a batch of more moderate Covid control measures announced by China’s cabinet on November 11 would mark the start of a shift to living with the virus. Instead, the looser policies and confusing signals from Beijing have stoked a growing Covid outbreak, with new cases nearing a record 30,000 per day.

‘Immunity debt’ is a dangerous concept There’s speculation that pandemic mitigations, including lockdowns, have created a harmful “immunity debt”, with children left vulnerable through a lack of exposure to the usual cut and thrust of viral infections. Anjana Ahuja argues there is no evidence that an individual is worse off for having avoided earlier infection.

An illustration depicting an individual running away from a virus

Anjana Ahuja: ‘Immunity debt also plays to the idea that the ebb and flow of childhood illnesses are best left to nature’ © Andy Carter

Retailers are reshaping advertising They’re barely noticeable, but promoted items on digital sales platforms are at the vanguard of an industry worth tens of billions of dollars. Today, their dominance is part of a broader shift away from bricks and mortar that gives consumer brands powerful new ways to reach shoppers.

How to disagree with your boss Last week, Elon Musk reportedly fired about a dozen engineers after they openly opposed him. It’s an extreme example of what can happen when you disagree with your boss. You’ll almost certainly disagree with your manager at some point in your career. This week’s Working It newsletter discusses how you should let them know.

Pelosi’s heir apparent set to make history In 2007, Nancy Pelosi made history when she became the first woman elected Speaker of the US House of Representatives. Fifteen years later, Pelosi paved the way for another lawmaker to make history when she announced she would step down as Speaker and endorse Hakeem Jeffries as her successor.

travel

Guyana is tipped as the next hotspot for travelers in search of adventure. But deep in the jungle, just upriver from a thundering waterfall in a sinking boat, Jamie Lafferty got more than he bargained for.

The view from the top of Kamarang Falls

The view from the top of Kamarang Falls © Jamie Lafferty

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