CHINESE AUTHORITIES have ordered an Apple supplier to close part of its plant in Suzhou after residents living nearby raised significant environmental concerns.
The Chinese government, widely criticised for its poor policies on environmental issues, has taken a tough stance with the Taiwanese company Catcher Technology, which makes metal casings for notebook computers including Apple’s Macbook Air and Macbook Pro. The company also makes chassis for Acer, Dell, Lenovo and Sony.
Cather’s plant was shut down by Chinese authorities earlier this week over environmental concerns, specifically due to local residents complaining of “odorous gas emissions” from the manufacturing unit.
The ordered closure might mark a change in government tactics in efforts to improve China’s reputation at home and abroad. While this is good news for the environment, it could be terrible news for the technology industry, which is largely dependent on a number of Chinese companies and manufacturing plants to meet demands.
Catcher’s president Allen Hong had previously stated that the firm’s output could fall by 20% in October and as much as 40% in November as a direct result of the factory’s closure. This has put into question whether Apple will be able to introduce a rumoured update to its MacBook Pro lineup next week as seems to be planned.
This is the latest supply setback to affect Apple. Earlier this year it was hit by supply issues after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan put some suppliers temporarily out of business.