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26 Facts About the Awful Conditions Where Your Gadgets are Made | World | AlterNet (Participation)

March 1, 2012

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26 Facts About the Awful Conditions Where Your Gadgets are Made

Breaking down what we know about Foxconn, the massive factory in China where workers manufacture popular products like iPhones and iPads.

January 29, 2012 |

An investigative series by the New York Times and a performance piece by Mike Daisey featured on This American Life have put the spotlight on Foxconn, the Taiwanese company whose massive Chinese factories manufacture some of the world’s most popular consumer electronics.

As well as working with companies like Dell, Motorola, Nokia and Hewlett-Packard, Foxconn assembles popular Apple products like the iPhone and iPad.

Here’s a quick look at what we know about Foxconn. (The company disputes workers’ accounts of abusive conditions. In a 2010 company report, Foxconn said it promotes “employee respect, an atmosphere of trust, and personal dignity.”)

Working for Foxconn

1.2 million: number of workers employed by Foxconn in China, according to the New York Times.

40: Estimated percent of the world’s consumer electronics manufactured by Foxconn.

7: seconds it takes Foxconn’s workers to complete a single step of their work, according to a survey cited by the New York Times.

12: Hours in a typical work shift, according to interviews with Foxconn employees.

83.2: Average hours of overtime worked each month, according to a 2010 survey of Foxconn employee.

13: age of a Foxconn employee Mike Daisey interviewed outside the gates of a Foxconn plant in Shenzhen.

91: cases of underage labor found by Apple’s audits of its suppliers in 2010, the year Daisey visited China.

3,000: number of workers Foxconn could hire overnight, according to Apple’s former worldwide supply demand manager.

10-20: percent estimated monthly turnover in Foxconn’s workforce.

$7,500: amount founder Terry Gou used to start the anchor company of Foxconn Technology Group in 1974, according to the company website.

$5.7 billion: Terry Gou’s estimated net worth as of March 2011.

Living Conditions

230,000: number of workers at “Foxconn City” in Shenzhen, according to the New York Times.

13: tons of rice prepared each day at the central kitchen at Foxconn City.

$0.65: meal allowance for dinner at the Foxconn City canteen in 2010.

2: number of free swimming pools there, according to The Telegraph, which noted that the pools “are said to be quite dirty.”

70,000: number of workers at Foxconn’s Chengdu plant who live in company dorms, according to the New York Times.

20: number of employees sometimes packed into a three-room apartment.

200: Reported number of police officers who responded to a Foxconn dormitory riot.


17: Number of reported suicides of Foxconn workers in China between 2007 and February 2011, according to Wired. Eleven workers died after jumping off buildings in the Foxconn Campus in Shenzhen, which were then draped with preventive netting. (Wired noted that the rate actually seems to be below China’s national averages.)

70: number of psychiatrists employed by Foxconn to prevent suicides, according to a 2010 announcement by CEO Terry Gou.

100: Estimated number of employees at a Foxconn factory in Wuhan who stood on the roof of a factory building this month to protest working conditions and wages. Several threatened to commit suicide, according to the New York Times.

$450: monthly salary a worker involved in that protest said employees had been promised for moving from the Foxconn campus in Shenzhen to one in Wuhan.

34: continuous hours a Foxconn employee worked in 2010 before he collapsed and died, according to media reports.

via 26 Facts About the Awful Conditions Where Your Gadgets are Made | World | AlterNet.



From → Participation

  1. Olivia Newhouse permalink

    These numbers just prove how awful the working conditions are for the workers at Foxconn. Is an ipad really worth having people committing suicide over? I would have to say no. Apple is invested in these people because of how cheap the labor is and the amount they profit over having the majority of these products produced in China.

  2. Reed Clarridge permalink

    Gosh, 70,000 in dorms, on site. Sounds similar to the sharecropping days during the reconstruction era. Legal slavery. How can we fight this business trend, when it seems to be powering our economy? Corporations are more powerful than nations in economic, international affairs. However, I get the feeling profits are what are driving them far more than racism. The developing nations these factories lie in happen to be minorities in this country, perhaps why our general populace is unaware and don’t care about this data.

  3. Why is it so important that corporations are more powerful when we are talking about democratic change? How is the government accountable and how to people redress issues in absence of centralized state?

  4. Kyla Chappell permalink

    Each and every one of these facts, didn’t shock me, but it is quite devastating. People committing suicide because of the conditions, I mean come on!?! Ding ding! Is any of the items being made at this factory worth our fancy iphones or ipads??? It seems as though this Foxconn. Company tries to make it seem as though they offer great luxuries like the pool and such, but really when researched it is not so great. No wonder the company is manufacturing in China because of the willingness to cheap labor and the abundance of unemployed people. Something needs to be done about this.

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