iPod City: inside Apple's iPod factories

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
Apple Computer's iconic digital music players are built primarily by female workers who sometimes earn as little as $50 per week, according to an article in the print edition of Mail on Sunday.



The report, dubbed "iPod City," offers a rare glimpse inside Apple's massive iPod manufacturing facilities, which are owned by Foxconn and situated in China.



By itself, Foxconn's Longhua facility is reported to house over 200,000 workers -- or a population larger than the British city of Newcastle. Its exterior gates flaunt billboards encouraging anyone over the age of 16 to apply for a job.



Inside Longhua, workers labor a 15-hour day building iPods, for which they usually earn about $50 per month. When they're not on the assembly lines, they live in secluded dormitories that each house 100 people and prohibit visitors from the outside world. The workers are allowed "a few possessions" and a "bucket to wash their clothes."



"We have to work too hard and I am always tired. It's like being in the army," Zang Lan, one of the workers at Longhua, told the Mail. "They make us stand still for hours. If we move we are punished by being made to stand still for longer. The boys are made to do pushups."



According to the report, the iPod nano is made in a five-story factory called "E3" that is secured by armed police officers. The super-slim digital music player is said to include over 400 parts which arrive from component manufacturers all over the world.



Another factory in Suzhou, Shanghai, manufacturers iPod shuffles and is completely surrounded by barbed wire. At this facility, 50,000 workers are housed outside the plant and earn about $99 per month. However, they must pay out of pocket for their accommodations and food, "which takes up half their salaries."



One security guard told the Mail that the iPod shuffle production lines are staffed by women workers because "they are more honest than male workers."



According to the report, Apple is just one of thousands of companies that now use Chinese facilities to manufacture its products. China's low wages, long hours and industrial secrecy, make the country attractive to business, especially as increased competition and consumer expectations force companies to deliver products at lower prices.
«13456

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 112
    backtomacbacktomac Posts: 4,579member
    Ahh, the hidden price of low cost goods.
  • Reply 2 of 112
    sandausandau Posts: 1,230member


    what pisses me off about this story is that it links back to macworld.uk as the origin of the story. click on that and it links from macworld.uk to some story that DOESN'T exist on mailonsunday.co.uk



    http://www.mailonsunday.co.uk/pages/...n_page_id=1766



    bogus? Who knows but quoting a link of a link that doesn't exist is crud.



    next this story will show up on Digg.com linking to AI...and then slashdot will quote digg.com....repeat, rinse repeat.



    this is the internet news today == crud.
  • Reply 3 of 112
    schmidm77schmidm77 Posts: 223member
    $99 a month is better than $0 a month because you don't have a job. If it weren't for global consumerism feeding the demand for Chinese manufactured good, they wouldn't be experiencing much of any economic growth at all. I get so tired of hearing all the bleeding hearts agonize over the west's (America's) exploitation of workers in China, when any pain they may be experiencing in the short-term will eventually lead to prosperity in the long-term. And the more they deal and interact economically with the rest of the world, the less the communist system will be able to maintian its grip on the lives of the people.
  • Reply 4 of 112
    sandausandau Posts: 1,230member
    maybe this is why the first shuffles where listed as "do not eat iPod shuffle" because the workers were very hungry and it was rice colored?
  • Reply 5 of 112
    glossgloss Posts: 506member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by sandau

    maybe this is why the first shuffles where listed as "do not eat iPod shuffle" because the workers were very hungry and it was rice colored?



    That's the worst thing I've read all day.



    Funny.
  • Reply 6 of 112
    fuyutsukifuyutsuki Posts: 293member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by schmidm77

    $99 a month is better than $0 a month because you don't have a job. If it weren't for global consumerism feeding the demand for Chinese manufactured good, they wouldn't be experiencing much of any economic growth at all. I get so tired of hearing all the bleeding hearts agonize over the west's (America's) exploitation of workers in China, when any pain they may be experiencing in the short-term will eventually lead to prosperity in the long-term. And the more they deal and interact economically with the rest of the world, the less the communist system will be able to maintian its grip on the lives of the people.



    Indeed. Anti-globalisationists seem to like glossing over the 38million+ fatalities of the "true" communist regime China had until 1976 which shut out the rest of the world and REALLY made its people suffer.



    Americans used to have horrible working conditions a century and more ago, likewise for my ancestors here in the heart of the industrial revolution in the 1700's, but where are we today? Rich and advanced by world trade and ever improving living standards produced by capitalism.



    It's not great to hear about poor conditions. But back in the old days, you heard jack because like North Korea it was a true nightmare. China will get over this in time, as will India and every other sweatshop. Once robotics etc. have made $1 a day an impossibly high wage in comparison, no one will be required to assemble mass products by hand.
  • Reply 7 of 112
    Bit irresponsible in that it does not provide context. For instance percentage of Chinese that are underemployed; average wage of Chinese manufacturing laborers, average cost of living in the region the workers reside, or their hometowns.



    All of this is information that could be found out by an investigative journalist, likely with little effort, and so it tells me the originators of the article care more about generating an emotional response for their publication than the actual plight of Chinese laborers.
  • Reply 8 of 112
    the reason that it is linked to the macworld story is because it snot available directly onine, or couldnt you be bothered to read it properly? doesnt make it any less credible anyway. good to see also that people here see that the issue of low wages a lack of rights and bad living conditions are either dismissed or laughed at.



    and just because somebody is being employed doesnt mean that you have to abuse their right to a decent wage basic workrights and conditions. good to see also that apple linked up with nike recently, another company nototious for this kind of thing.



    seems like as long as you get your 'cool stuff' cheap then you either choose to discredit information or just simply ignore something like this. apple make premium products but dont really care about the workers of their contractors, doesnt matter if other companies are doing it, apple are supposed to be one of the good guys and clearly they are not
  • Reply 9 of 112
    Quote:

    Originally posted by ChevalierMalFet

    Bit irresponsible in that it does not provide context. For instance percentage of Chinese that are underemployed; average wage of Chinese manufacturing laborers, average cost of living in the region the workers reside, or their hometowns.



    Absolutely. The one thing it did state was that they have to spend half of their wages on food and accomodation... well, I've got news for you: my food and accomodation costs half of my wage, even though I'm making a lot more than they are. Obviously the cost of living is different there than it is here.

    Another bit of information I would have liked to see is how kindly they treat their workers, as well as interviews with some of the workers to see how happy they are with their jobs. I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of them were thrilled to have such a job.
  • Reply 10 of 112
    ak1808ak1808 Posts: 108member
    I spend more than half of my salary on accomodation and food, what are they complaining about?
  • Reply 11 of 112
    Nike + iPod ... OH! now I get it!
  • Reply 12 of 112
    shaun, ukshaun, uk Posts: 1,050member
    Many western companies use China to manufacture their goods fully aware of the slave labour wages and conditions within these factories. This problem is bigger than any one company.



    I really hope I live to see the day when the corrupt and murderous Chinese dictatorship is fianlly overthrown and the Chinese people are set free.
  • Reply 13 of 112
    chuckerchucker Posts: 5,089member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by fuyutsuki

    [..] the "true" communist regime China [..]



    There is no such thing as a "true communist regime". The very concept of communism includes the lack of a regime.



    Even if you mean socialism, neither China nor the Soviet Union are much of an example of that, but more of despotism and dictatorship.



    So, don't use the term "true". It'll only make geniuses like Karl Marx cringe in their graves.
  • Reply 14 of 112
    slugheadslughead Posts: 1,169member
    Note where it says that shuffle makers (who make $80/mo) pay half their income to living expenses... whoa wait, that means they're living on $40/month.



    $40/mo.. my living expenses are $1000/month.



    Note to the morons: $80/month is much higher than china's minimum wage for a reason: IT'S A LOT OF FREAKIN MONEY THERE.



    Don't get all high and mighty saying "oh it's too low", in some parts of the world, that's how people live. And unless you're gonna go over there to fix their lives personally, keep buying iPods, keep them employed, and keep remembering our OWN industrial revolution which was much worse.
  • Reply 15 of 112
    mark2005mark2005 Posts: 1,158member
    $50/month (with housing and food included) or $99/month are not slave wages in China or for that matter, in most of the countries of the world.



    Why can't people get this concept of relativity into their heads? What do they teach in Western schools? Or are westerners just getting dumber with each passing generation? (If so, it must be from using PCs!!!!)
  • Reply 16 of 112
    nobody is saying that the chinese dictatorship is a good thing, so keep your commy accuations out. the main argument is that the people should be treated properly and the companies involved have the money to do it. just skimming of profit by exploiting workers from other countries is not acceptable



    just becuase we all suffered a hundred years ago, doesnt mean that others have to suffer now, or are you into some kind of 'penalty' for industrialisation?. clearly one would have hoped that civilisation would have advanced to the extent that even though people work in factories they should be treated better than the 19th century. also the issue isnt just about wages. its about issues such as forced overtime, unfair dismissials, a lack of any system to check that there are any under age workers.



    as for the people claiming that they have an equally difficult life because they have to give up half their wages becuase of their accomodation. that's disgusting- i am pretty sure t many of you don't live in a place where the facilities are basic often to the point of a lack of sanitation, where you have limited access to your family. grow up and take some responsibilty. you have a duty to others to help - not to throw out comments from your comfortable little world and make jokes at other people's expense who are facing some real problems
  • Reply 17 of 112
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    "secluded dormitories that each house 100 people and prohibit visitors from the outside world"



    and what's the justification for that? If the low wages are OK, is mistreatment OK too? "Anything goes" for a buck?



    Note: Apple is in a position to make demands about those issues. And locking up 100s of people isn't necessary to protect the secrecy of a product that already exists.
  • Reply 18 of 112
    fahlmanfahlman Posts: 697member
    is this really AppleInsider? I better check the url...
  • Reply 19 of 112
    deapeajaydeapeajay Posts: 909member
    I can see where those who view this as oppression are coming from. But does anyone here think that Apple demanding they treat their employees better going to make any difference? Somehow I doubt it. What it would do if Apple did this is, raise the cost of iPods, iPods would lose their market, other players would take their place with parts contracted from Foxconn, and we'd be back to square one.



    You can't frown on Apple, it just doesn't make any sense to. They're not in a position to make any change! If you must frown on someone, frown on China, or on Foxconn.



    And boycotting apple because of their contractor's business practices probably isn't going to do any good either.



    Now, if this situation with FoxConn was an exception in china, THEN you could make all those arguments. But it's not! This is the norm in China. One business can't revolutionize a country!
  • Reply 20 of 112
    aegisdesignaegisdesign Posts: 2,914member
    The Daily Mail is slightly to the right of Hitler. Usually they're making up stories about illegal immigrants and how Johnny Foreigner is after our jobs and our women.



    It must be a slow day on the Mail when their story is an attack on economies outside the UK that everyone knows about already. Chinese people have lower salaries and work in big factories? I'm shocked!



    Also really funny that the Mail should be championing workers rights when it was somewhat influential in campaigning against the unions in the 80s and 90s as the mouthpiece of the Conservative government.
Sign In or Register to comment.