China lifted the lockdown in Zhengzhou also known as "iPhone city" late on Tuesday amid protests from workers at Foxconn's plant in the city.
However, a prominent analyst has called Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) future in the country into question as geopolitics and COVID-19 related disruptions impact the world's largest company by market cap.
Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives described the situation in China as a "train wreck" and said that while the lockdown being unwound is good news in the interim, given the shortages of iPhone 14 Pro around the globe, the company has limited options, at least for now, with respect to its dependence on China.
"The reality is that Apple is extremely limited in their options for holiday season and are at the mercy of China's zero Covid policy which remains a very frustrating situation for Apple as well as the Street," Ives wrote in a note to clients, adding that it has now become a "painful waiting game" to see how much production can be ramped up to ease the iPhone shortages.
Ives has an outperform rating and $200 price target on Apple (AAPL).
The analyst added that Wall Street will "mostly look through" the production shortfall and not penalize the stock as much, but there are "major strategic questions" that need to be answered about the company's future production in China.
The analyst pondered whether Apple (AAPL) would look more to India and Vietnam for iPhone production.
"In a nutshell, this last month in China has been the straw that broke the camel's back for Apple in China with the head scratching zero Covid policy untenable with major strategic changes ahead for Cupertino in this key region in our opinion," Ives added.
In the five years up to 2019, China was the primary location for between 44% and 47% of Apple's (AAPL) suppliers' production sites, but that dropped to 36% in 2021, the analysis showed.
Earlier this year, investment firm J.P. Morgan suggested 5% of iPhone production could occur in India this year, with Apple (AAPL) ultimately shifting 25% of all iPhone production to the country by 2025.
Apple (AAPL) has been producing iPhone units in India since 2017, when it started with the iPhone SE.
On Tuesday, another notable analyst said Apple's (AAPL) iPhone 14 Pro shipments could be up to 20M units less than expected because of the China-related supply chain disruptions.