Chinese iPad plant reopens

June 2, 2011, 3:10 PM UTC

Two weeks after a fatal explosion, it’s business as usual at Foxconn’s factory in Chengdu.

Inside Foxconn's Chengu factory. Photo:

After an explosion in a Chinese factory that makes iPads for Apple (AAPL) killed three workers and injured 15 more, one analyst estimated that Apple’s quarterly iPad production numbers might fall by as much as 2.8 million units — speculation that helped drive the company’s shares down more than 1.5% that day.

Two weeks later, it’s clear that those fears were overblown. According to the
Wall Street Journal
, the affected plants in Chengdu were restarted Thursday, two weeks to the day after the explosion. Susquehanna’s Jeff Fidacaro, who had earlier estimated that the accident might cut into Apple’s production by 200,000 to 500,000 units, issued a report to clients suggesting that by shifting work to other facilities and stepping up overtime, Foxconn — which owns the factory– would have made up the difference by the end of June. He’s now conservatively estimating that Apple will ship 7.5 million iPads this quarter. Other analysts put that number as high as 10 million, more than twice the 4.7 million iPads Apple sold last quarter.

Meanwhile, the Chengdu plant is not without its problems. M.I.C. Gadget, the Chinese blog that broke the news of the explosion, reports that a young Foxconn worker died last week after jumping out of fifth-floor dormitory window. In a three-month period last spring, nine Foxconn workers leaped to their death from their dorms at Foxconn’s factory city in Shenzhen.