Developing

Foxconn Denies Hire Freeze Has Apple Link

Apple's manufacturing partner Foxconn has denied that a recruitment freeze it has imposed is linked to slowing production of the iPhone 5.

Foxconn is not hiring new staff at a Shenzhen plant that makes gadgets, including the smartphone, but it has denied a report in the Financial Times that the move is a reaction to any single client.

The company, which has faced searching questions over labour conditions and its previous use of child interns on production lines, runs a network of factories across China which employ 1.2 million people making products for tech companies, also including Hewlett Packard and Dell.

In response to the FT's claim, Foxconn said: "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.

"This action is not related to any single customer and any speculation to the contrary is false and inaccurate."

Apple sold a less-than-expected 47.8 million iPhones in the final quarter of 2012, fanning speculation that its dominance of consumer electronics was on the decline as Samsung and other manufacturers that use Google's Android software gradually gain market share.

Apple's share price dipped by 2% on Wednesday. Stocks are down by about 34% from their peak last September as investors fret about sliding margins and intensifying competition.