Are Apple’s Suppliers On a Hiring Spree for the iPhone 6?

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The latest supply chain rumors from Asia suggest that the mass production of Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) upcoming iPhone 6 is about to kick off. According to industry sources cited by Taiwan’s Economic Daily News via Reuters, primary Apple supplier Hon Hai Precision Industry, also known as Foxconn, has embarked on a major recruitment drive as it seeks to hire more than 100,000 workers from mainland China. Foxconn’s additional 100,000 workers will boost the size of its overall workforce by more than 10 percent.

According to the Economic Daily News’ sources, Pegatron, another known manufacturer of Apple’s mobile devices, is also rumored to be hiring more workers and is believed to be boosting its workforce by 30 percent at its Kunshan facility in Jiangsu, China. The Economic Daily News noted that the two recruitment drives “will be the continent’s largest recent jobs action.”

While seasonal hiring sprees are not unusual for large contract electronics assemblers like Foxconn and Pegatron, it is believed that the timing of this recruitment drive is related to the expected launch of the iPhone 6 in the third quarter. The supply chain sources reported that Foxconn will handle approximately 70 percent of the iPhone 6 orders, while Pegatron will take the remaining 30 percent.

The percentage of iPhone 6 orders given to each manufacturer appears to be roughly proportional to the number of facilities that Apple is linked to at each manufacturer. According to Apple’s latest supplier list, the Cupertino, California-based company has used 29 separate Hon Hai facilities for the manufacturing of its various products during 2014, while only eight Pegatron facilities have been used.

Multiple media outlets and analysts have predicted that Apple’s iPhone 6 will be released in two larger screen sizes of 4.7 inches and 5.5 inches. The iPhone 6 sizes appeared to have been confirmed by two recent leaks that purported to show LCD backlight components for the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch displays.

Per the Economic Daily News’ sources, the large-screen iPhone 6 models are highly anticipated by consumers and are expected to drive shipments that “far exceed the iPhone 5 series.” Apple has long resisted the overall smartphone market trend toward larger screens; its current flagship iPhone 5S only has a 4-inch display.

The 5.5-inch iPhone 6 model may prove especially popular in the country where the device is being manufactured. According to data from market research firm Canalys, smartphones with screens that are 5 inches or larger accounted for 39 percent of shipments in greater China last quarter. Both devices are expected to be released sometime this fall, although some sources believe the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 will debut several weeks before the 5.5-inch model.

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