Journalist tours Foxconn’s Shenzhen campus

By , Oct 20, 2012

If you were to ask someone what they thought of Foxconn today, chances are their response would be negative. And for good reason. Over the past few years, we’ve heard horror stories about the manufacturing giant regarding terrible working conditions and child labor, and we’ve seen the pictures of the windows with prison bars and the suicide nets.

And that’s exactly the kind of scene James Fallows, a journalist for The Atlantic, prepared himself for, as he set out on a tour of Foxconn’s famous Shenzhen campus. He was ready to see the dark, depressing work environment and the somber, joyless employees that he had read so much about in other reports. But it didn’t go at all how he expected…

This past Thursday, Fallows was given an opportunity to do something that very few other journalists have been allowed to do: go beyond Foxconn’s security gates. He was given one simple pre-condition, that he couldn’t mention any of the brands of the electronics he saw, and was given full access to the Shenzhen campus with permission to take photos.

Foxconn employee cyber cafe

The whole article is an interesting read, but this is the part that really stuck out:

“But what I saw once inside the gate was very different from the picture that “Foxconn” had always conjured up in my mind. I’ll plan to post a series of photos day by day until I’ve conveyed the range of what I saw. If scenes like these conform closely to how you had imagined Foxconn to look, congrats on your insight. They surprised me.”

And reading through Fallow’s recollection of the tour, and looking at the pictures he took (which he points out were neither scripted nor pre-approved), I have to say that I too, am surprised. My mental image of Foxconn was much, much darker than what is conveyed in this report. Here it almost seems like your average factory. Just a lot bigger.

Inside Foxconn’s staff care center

That being said, Foxconn has been found guilty of a number of workplace-related violations over the years. And I’m not naive enough to think that Foxconn managers didn’t make some kind of “journalist is coming today, be on your best behavior” announcement. But still, the article did change my perspective a bit on the infamous manufacturer.

Thoughts?

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  • http://twitter.com/myorangeisstuck wahaha

    Don’t think negative guys!! Foxconn is changing which shows that they are doing something about the conditions ther

  • http://www.facebook.com/Johannes.Mertens Johannes Mertens

    Things are getting better. And its Not just Foxconn.. Samsungs Phones arent built by Little white Magic Ponys.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ba-Tongxue/100003554938315 Ba Tongxue

    Believe me, guys. We have no idea what kind of work and life they are having out there.

  • Craig

    How about an audit team show up unannounced and see what is really going on there on a daily basis? Or even an undercover reporter? Announcing a visit like this just defeats the purpose of trying to find violations.

  • http://twitter.com/lgasparjnr laszlo gaspar

    I agree, it’s not this dark aned gloomy place where people commit suicide. It actually looks like an alright place.

  • sambuzzlight

    the second image looks like the mangers told the workers/staff to act ‘normal’ and read newspapers if you panic…