A Look at Life Inside Foxconn’s iPhone Factory

By , Nov 3, 2010

Consumers rarely have the opportunity to see what life is like for the people that work in large factories around the world. However, some light has been shed as of late on what life is like behind the smoke stacks of certain industrial giants.

Foxconn, the manufacturer that Apple contracts to make iPhones, has been under the microscope lately over employee suicides. Recently, Gizmodo got an exclusive look at Foxconn’s factory in Shenzhen, China. The article focuses on the living conditions for the 420,000 workers…

Men and women have separate dormitories on the 2.1-square-kilometer campus. After a series of over eleven suicides earlier this year, giant nets have been installed around all of the buildings. Although the look is eerie, it seems to have worked. The Gizmodo article reports that there have been no suicides since the nets were installed in May.

The dorm rooms are described as snug, to say the least. Gizmodo reports, “Eight workers sleep in four bunk beds in a room about the size of a two-car garage.” There is a small television viewing room on each floor. Workout equipment exists outdoors between the buildings. The workout equipment looks to resemble old playground equipment.

Shared bathrooms for washing clothes and taking showers, toiletries kept on shelves in the open, and dim, cold hallways make Foxconn seem like a pretty depressing place.

Gizmodo did share that Foxconn has started outsourcing the maintenance of their living operations to a local company. Perhaps Foxconn removing itself from managing the living conditions of its employees will result in a better environment for its 420,000 workers.

What do you think about how Foxconn treats its employees? Does it bother you that Apple is working with a company that has such a scandalous track record?

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  • http://www.iphonedownloadblog.com Jeff

    “Does it bother you that Apple is working with a company that has such a scandalous track record?”

    Yes. As much coin as Apple is pulling in, they need to continue to demand better working conditions for these workers. I know they’ve taken some steps to do so, but they need to do more. The workers deserve better conditions than that.

  • Jgitto

    No. I have been to this part of China and these are decent conditions. Americans can not compare our conditions to those in china.

    • http://www.iphonedownloadblog.com Jeff

      Just because they are decent doesn’t mean they can’t be better, wouldn’t you agree? They are making Apple and other billions upon billions.

    • appletiser

      imo that’s a completely arrogant statement, just because you say this is ‘decent’ for this area of the world doesn’t make it acceptable. i would find it highly unlikely that the senior management of foxconn experience the same conditions as these.

  • http://www.maheshkukreja.com Mahesh

    Apple is making so much money, it must improve the conditions of people working there..

  • http://aelandt3.com whtlime

    I’m not really one to get sentimental, but this really makes you think.

  • Yao

    Imagine the living conditions of workers making dollar store products.
    Why be surprised at typical corporate capitalism?

  • Dextrou$

    Then don’t buy apple products! Simple really!

  • Adam

    Ok these are not great conditions but what conditions would they live in if apple didn’t provide those 420,000 jobs! Would they even have jobs? And somewhere to live?

  • http://aelandt3.com whtlime

    You guys are missing the point. The point is not only are these living conditions horrible, but it makes it even worse that these are the living conditions of people who make a high quality product that arguably has a higher demand than any technology product in todays market. Lets take this to the extreme shall we? Would you expect the makers of an Aston Martin, or Pagandi Z to live this way? Of course not. Now this has little to do with the income of the products than it does the principle.

  • Pissed_Off_NERD!

    For a Device that’s $200-$600usd a pop and for a company that took in a Billion Dollars in sales this year alone regardless of what country they live in…These Living Conditions are Fcking horrible & unexceptable!

    Period point blank!

  • Rob

    Awesome but if foxconn packed 12 of those se in a room would that lower the iPhone price??

  • rollie

    This is TRULY unacceptable. However, there are much worse working conditions in China than this. As China plays a more important role in the world economy, things will get better, albeit slowly.

    The founder of Foxconn is the one of the richest persons in Taiwan. If only the shareholders would sacrifice a small portion of profit and invest those profit in better working conditions for the 420,000 employees, Foxconn may be more productive, resulting in higher productivity and better quality products. Shareholders and board of directors know that, but in the real world, half a penny of earnings per share is still an stronomical figure for shareholders.

    Lest we forget, Toyota factories in China also have subpar working and living conditions. We just don’t hear much about that.

  • Martin

    On one hand it is a bit disturbing, but I don’t know if I would blame apple… foxconn isn’t apple, they are just working for them… Also, I think that apple, even is they could, wouldn’t be allowed to make major changes… China is still communist country and only the guys on leather chairs with red phone on their desk can really decide what’s what. I would blame chinese people, who should stand up and stop that nonsense… there is enough of them…

  • tbui123

    It’s easy for us to sit here in front of our personal computers (parts made in China or Taiwan), using our iPhone, listening to our iPod, surfing with out iPad, probably wearing our nike (made in china), and criticize Foxconn. I have friends who are executives of Foxconn right here in the US, yes, they are driving Lexus and Mercedes, living in 2-3 hundreds thousands dollars home. But, they are just hard earning EDUCATED people like many executives in this country and around the world.
    For the Chinese workers, as many other workers (Taiwan, India, Vietnam, Mexico, etc.), they can always use some help, voices to raise their working conditions, living standards, equal reights, etc. It is nice for you to voice your opinions, but you need to realize that for those people, they are actually more fortunate and have a job, a place to live (however small the space may be) compares to millions other Chinese, living on the street, unemployed, etc.
    WE allowed this to happens, WE stand in line, get on the waiting list to buy these products, WE alow our government to deal, buy, sell and trade with these people to provide us with all the goods that we are consumed and enjoyed. So get off your high horses if your conciense is killing you, boycot Apple if you think it is so bad. If you don’t buy iPhone, Apple won’t exist, if Apple don’t order from Foxconn, Foxconn may not exist (I know they produce parts for Dell, HP and others in the world also), and Foxconn does not exist, may be all those Chinese People are unemployed and living in tents and cardboard boxes instead of a dormitory with bunk beds and a roof over their head.
    It’s still better than millions of American getting welfare, do nothings and expect “Equal Rights”. China is no where perfect, but WE are the majority that create supplies and demands to drive the Chinese to produce for our consumption. At least those people have a job. Please continue to voice your opinion for human rights and human equality, but don’t knock Foxconn, if Foxconn don’t get Apple Contracts, it would be another company. What sad to me is that WE here in the U.S. have so many “Equal Rights” that many have become lazy, unemployed, waiting for govermnent welfare (because they feel that they deserve higher wages). Yes Communist Sucks, but our government is in bed with them, we are not much hollier… look in the mirror.

  • Greg

    Ummm…will my iPhone cost more if they get 4 to a room instead of 8? Can someone do the CBA on that and get back to me. Jesus CHRIST people…pull your heads out of your asses.

  • ipwnza

    What is happening here isn’t abuse of worker’s rights, bad conditions, etc. They choose to work there because they need a job. I find it almost funny that american news networks report on how “Deplorable” chinese factory conditions are when the people that work there CHOOSE TO BECAUSE THEY NEED THE MONEY. They could quit if they wanted to, but the fact is, there aren’t any better factories to work around china anyway.