Contract manufacturing giant Foxconn is rumoured to be recruiting factory workers to build Apple's next iPhone, which is expected by many to be released later this year.
The hiring push is being conducted "specifically for production of a new iPhone model," according to reports this week from DigiTimes. Foxconn, Apple's premier manufacturing partner in Asia, has "confirmed" the recruitment drive at its factory in Zhengzhou, China but "stressed this is purely to meet seasonal labour demand," the Taiwanese tech site reported.
The DigiTimes report lacked much more in detail, but noted that Foxconn's Zhengzhou manufacturing facility currently employs about 210,000 workers, considerably below the 300,000 employed at the factory "during the production peak of 2012."
A report in April also suggested that Foxconn was ramping up hiring in Zhengzhou in preparation for a new manufacturing contract to produce the so-called iPhone 5S for Apple.
The Zhengzhou facility in northern China is one of Foxconn's main facilities for producing iPhones, including the current-generation iPhone 5. It's also experienced some of the labour relations problems that have marred Taiwan-based Foxconn's often controversial manufacturing efforts for Apple.
Last year, several thousand Zhengzhou workers reportedly went on strike over stringent quality control standards for the iPhone 5, though Foxconn denied that a strike had occurred. In May, it was reported that as many as three Zhengzhou workers committed suicide by jumping from heights — such incidents have also happened periodically at Foxconn-run factories in China over the past several years.
Meanwhile, rumours emerged last month that a seventh-generation iPhone would be released on 20 September, followed by a lower-priced smartphone aimed at emerging markets a few weeks later.