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Foxconn employees endure hellish working conditions to earn a tiny wage for building Apple's iPads, iPods, and iPhones.  (Source: Southern Weekly)

The conditions are so bad, some employees have taken their own lives. Foxconn has created the "stress room", a place where emloyees can be away their rage and frustration, in hopes of decreasing the suicide rate.  (Source: Southern Weekly)
Apple's parts supplier Foxconn faces more controversy

Last time a reporter tried to penetrate Apple's veil of secrecy, security guards employed by their parts supplier, Foxconn, beat up the reporters involved.  But questions had to be answered in the wake of the suicide/potential murder of a Foxconn employee which occurred after the employee lost an iPhone prototype.

Chinese newspaper Southern Weekly was determined to find out the true story, and sent a reporter in undercover, posing as a new employee.  Given the fact that Foxconn's Shenzen plant that builds Apple's iPads, iPods, and iPhones has 400,000 employees, that part wasn't too hard.

What was hard, was for the reporter to endure the plant's reportedly hellish working conditions for 28 days. 

So far in the last four and a half months seven workers from the plant have committed suicide, and at least 9 have attempted suicide.  According to reporter Liu Zhi Yi who infiltrated the plant, the likely reason why was that they felt taking their own life was the only option to escape the hellish working conditions of the plant.

According to Liu, the plant makes employees work around the clock, only pausing briefly to eat or sleep.  Most of the time the employees are standing, seldom able to sit down and rest their weary legs.  This is perfectly legal, as employees are required to sign a special overtime document that override Chinese workplace laws and essentially allows the employer to demand whatever hours they want from you, without additional compensation.

Foxconn pays the workers far too little for them to hope to buy one of the Apple products they assemble.  It pays them only 900 Chinese Yuan a month —about $130 USD.  Still the workers have dreams.  They joke that their carts that they haul Apple materials on are "BMWs", dreaming of real BMWs.  They buy lottery tickets and bet on horse races in hopes of miraculously being handed an escape from their purgatory.

But for most, they will live out their lives slaving away to build Apple's products, constantly in danger, while earning only a pittance.  So, according to the newspaper there's little surprise some employees fall into deep despair.

Foxconn at the request of Apple and Chinese state officials has made some steps to decrease the suicide rates.  It's hired counselors and given workers dummies to beat on to vent their rage.  And it's even been so kind as to hire Buddhist monks to allow the souls of those who committed to suicide to escape purgatory.

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By lifewatcher on 5/19/2010 5:30:37 PM , Rating: 5
If that's the cost of labor in China, regardless of all other expenses, no iPhone should cost $600. If I'm wrong, it would be interesting to find out how much that deice would cost, if manufactured here in the US.
This rant of mine has nothing to do with suicides in China, but with corporate greed. I bet Apple will have far thinner profit margins on their devices, had they be made here. Such scenario, however, will mean better regulated work environment for everyone involved, thus better night-sleep for Steve. I can't imagine going to bed at night with a smile on my mug, knowing that I'm profiting from sweatshops.
Before declaring war on porn, this wacko should declare war on labor exploitation.

RE: Price
By lightfoot on 5/19/2010 6:14:32 PM , Rating: 5
Don't worry, I'm sure Steve Jobs is not losing any sleep over this.

RE: Price
By stimudent on 5/20/2010 8:59:21 AM , Rating: 5
Steve Jobs - the new Big Brother to replace the one in the 1984 Apple commercial.

RE: Price
By hyvonen on 5/19/2010 7:58:13 PM , Rating: 5
Market decides.

Would you rather buy an iPhone for $100 that's made by Foxconn, or an identical one for $200 that's made by your friendly neighborhood cell phone factory?

Or, which one would you pick: an iPhone that costs $200 because it's made in the U.S., or the pretty Android phone that's only $100 because it's made in China?

Market decides; people can whine about human rights and atrocities, but the fact remains that your own dollars matter to you more.

RE: Price
By xaders on 5/19/2010 9:49:23 PM , Rating: 2
yes, market decides but would you will be pay more then $1000 for a phone!!! macbook start at $999.
if you buy the iphone with contract then it cost $199 and that already enough to pay off the cost of materials. but if you buy it without contract, it would cost $500+ depending on size. usually, apple product has high margin because they control both hardware and software so dont forget about R&D. there is millions of dollars invest in any prototype device that comes to market and final product.

dont forget, in china, there isnt much laws to protect workers unlike the USA, and europe. so, have to work around the clock for 7 days and more the 120 hours a week, so that apple fanboy can get the iphones on time.

RE: Price
By afkrotch on 5/20/2010 12:15:19 AM , Rating: 2
China has laws to protect workers. It's just, they have a waiver you can sign, to take away your protection. They sign to get the job. If they don't sign, they don't get the job.

RE: Price
By bupkus on 5/20/2010 11:59:07 AM , Rating: 5
So private contracts supersede national law... in China?
When pigs fly! This is Chinese leadership being paid off to exploit their own people.
Me thinks China is due for another revolution.

RE: Price
By hans007 on 5/19/2010 10:27:45 PM , Rating: 1
labor cost is a miniscule amount of the cost of the phone though.

if they paid theworkers twice as much, they probably would only have to raisse the price of the phone by maybe $5.

Mexican plants pay workers maybe $1-2 an hour (vs $130 a month for the chinese plant), and their costs are generally competitive given they benefit from nafta etc.

For example to build your basic PC assembled on an assembly line only takes about 10-15 min.

I worked summers at a hewlett packard plant in the 90s when they were still in southern california for some tings, and 15 minutes at $10 an hour, vs 10 cents an hour is what $2.50

It doesn't take 10 hours to assemble a phone. The same applies to cars, which is why a $20k car has maybe $1000 in labor costs if not less.

materials are the main cost and r&d.

The only reason companies go to china labor is that miniscule extra amount of say $5 per phone. It would be say $5 x 1 million iphones, so 2 million dollars.

RE: Price
By 7Enigma on 5/20/2010 8:10:43 AM , Rating: 5
Oh woe is the California education system:

"It would be say $5 x 1 million iphones, so 2 million dollars."

RE: Price
By hyvonen on 5/20/2010 11:05:08 AM , Rating: 2
Should I even respond to that...?

The workforce costs at that Foxconn facility is probably a tiny portion of the total costs (that includes land/building/electricity/etc.), and I'm sure they want margin, too. It's not as cheap as you'd think.

Of course, the situation is far worse in the US, what with extra social security and other taxes, health care costs, higher cost of land/energy... Even though you made $10/h, you can bet the cost of your labor was much higher for HP.

RE: Price
By JustTom on 5/24/2010 11:20:40 AM , Rating: 2
Labor costs to build most cars is significantly higher than 1K, at least if you are talking about the US. Costs to GM were $73/hr, labor costs are over 2K per car on average. Maybe you meant wages which are only a part of labor costs.

RE: Price
By bupkus on 5/20/2010 11:54:35 AM , Rating: 2
You people actually gave a 5 to a position that supports labor exploitation? Or are you supportive, no matter what the results, of market driven forces?
And may I quote you
people can whine about human rights and atrocities
I am horrified by what appears to be a new generation of market driven monsters!
And what sense does it make to say
Or, which one would you pick: an iPhone that costs $200 because it's made in the U.S., or the pretty Android phone that's only $100 because it's made in China?
Do we have reports of Android phones assembled by laborers working under such abysmal conditions or are these just reports from Apple haters ???
Yes, I have an online business that originally was supplied by products manufactured in China. I need to resupply but I cannot bring myself to do so with China's ugly human rights record. I will go out of business within a year and it will cost me much more than $100 for a gd damn phone!

My stomach turns and I am so angry to read such lack of concern for HUMAN BEINGS.

RE: Price
By lightfoot on 5/20/2010 12:13:57 PM , Rating: 2
These people are not slaves. There is huge competition for these jobs, because they are considered very good jobs.

The only reason people feel trapped in this type of job is simply because there aren't any better jobs available to them.

If they want to leave they can leave.

RE: Price
By Motoman on 5/20/10, Rating: 0
RE: Price
By Josh7289 on 5/24/2010 1:07:52 PM , Rating: 2
If they want to leave they can leave.

And where are they going to get that money? They're stuck.

RE: Price
By hyvonen on 5/22/2010 4:25:23 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry, but you misunderstood. I was pointing out that a lot of people seem to be hypocrites when complaining about labor abuses, but still choosing to buy the cheap stuff that was made with cheap, abused labor.

I wasn't stating my own view about labor abuses. I personally tend to buy local, even if it's more expensive. When it comes to electronics, though, I don't really have those options, because they are ALL made in China/Taiwan. Why is this? Because the market has spoken; the market wants cheap stuff, regardless of who made it.

RE: Price
By rcc on 5/20/2010 2:17:49 PM , Rating: 2
Because, of course, Foxconn/Apples factory is the only one in China run like this?

Not that that makes it right, but this is a societal problem, dinging Apple for it is convenient... but that's about it.

RE: Price
By Motoman on 5/20/2010 2:48:55 PM , Rating: 2
True. Every company with similar factories in China (or who deals with suppliers with such factories in China) deserves the same mocking.

It's particularly ironic for Apple with it's (literally) shiny image be associated with such dirtiness.

RE: Price
By mostyle on 5/20/2010 7:58:06 PM , Rating: 3
Foxconn at the request of Apple and Chinese state officials has made some steps to decrease the suicide rates. It's hired counselors and given workers dummies to beat on to vent their rage.

Ok, what the hell? You've got people killing themselves due to working conditions and your response is counseling and stress dummies? Am I the only one that sees the stupidity in that or am I over simplifying? If the work environment is generating the issue modify the motivator and the issue would resolve itself, no?

Ah, wait. the therapists and punch-dummies are still cheaper than the money we would loose were we to allow somewhat humane work hours.


And, they can sign a waiver foregoing labor standards? Nice. Glad that concept hasn't caught on in the US..


Lucky bastards
By todda7 on 5/19/2010 3:40:20 PM , Rating: 2
I dont have any plastic dolls I can beat up at work.

Seems like I have to consider moving to China.

On topic though, I don't think this situation is hard to find in countries like China. I bet both Microsoft and Asus and Gigabyte and whatnot have similar condiitons in their sub-factories.

RE: Lucky bastards
By theArchMichael on 5/19/2010 4:40:41 PM , Rating: 3
Plastic doll... are you kidding me?
If I felt grossly underpaid and the victim of inhumane working conditions, I would hope that the "dummy" I was allowed to beat up would be the plant manager or his direct supervisor...

RE: Lucky bastards
By lightfoot on 5/19/2010 6:18:18 PM , Rating: 5
I would hope that the "dummy" I was allowed to beat up would be the plant manager or his direct supervisor...

...because, clearly, a Chinese prison would be a much better living environment.

RE: Lucky bastards
By BladeVenom on 5/19/2010 10:28:48 PM , Rating: 5
It would be even better if the plastic dolls had Steve Jobs' face on them.

Where's the news?
By bug77 on 5/19/2010 5:35:39 PM , Rating: 5
Similar stuff has been reported previously and the public has decided: we don't care if the Chinese that makes the things we buy is driven to suicide, as long as we get to save a few bucks. Well, we may look a little shocked every now and then, but that's about it.

RE: Where's the news?
By OAKside24 on 5/19/2010 7:28:26 PM , Rating: 5
The truth hurts.

Luckily, here's a new gadget (at a great price!) to make you forget and feel better!

RE: Where's the news?
By lightfoot on 5/20/2010 11:36:07 AM , Rating: 2
But is it cool? I'll only buy your fancy device if it has a stylized picture of fruit on it.

Silver Lining
By clovell on 5/19/2010 5:40:04 PM , Rating: 4
The silver lining in al this is that the Chinese Press is digging into these stories, much to the chagrin of their government, I'm sure.

There are shadows of progress on the march to human rights to be found here.

RE: Silver Lining
By PrezWeezy on 5/19/2010 8:57:02 PM , Rating: 2
There are shadows of progress on the march to human rights to be found here

Damn...then end of cheap $#!7.

RE: Silver Lining
By banthracis on 5/20/2010 10:58:48 AM , Rating: 3
Oddly enough, the national government actually likes stuff like this getting out as they then have someone to blame for issues and they can just hang an executive, throw blame on him and avoid the issue at large while keeping the public happy by claiming they're making changes.

Also, it helps them identify corrupt officials to punish.

It's the local governments that hate this as they often benefit greatly from bribes from these companies and are often exposed and suffer punishments for their roles in promoting stuff.

RE: Silver Lining
By lightfoot on 5/20/2010 11:38:43 AM , Rating: 3
It also helps when there is a foreign company that can be implicated. You'd never see something like this reported at the Lenovo factory.

How utterly...average.
By dev0lution on 5/20/2010 2:34:55 AM , Rating: 1
Average annual rate of suicides in the US for the 25-64 yr old age group is about 15 per 100,000 people (and they don't even work for Foxconn). 7 suicides and 9 attempts in 4.5 months out of a sample of 400,000 employees isn't terribly shocking. Wonderful investigative journalism ;-)

RE: How utterly...average.
By foolsgambit11 on 5/20/2010 6:50:31 AM , Rating: 1
That's also roughly the rate of suicide among Chinese, generally, according to statistics I could find. About 15 per 100,000. This factory has seen less than 5 suicides per 100,000 per annum. Sounds to me like working conditions were pretty good at the factory.

RE: How utterly...average.
By Danger D on 5/21/2010 12:01:27 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think the one plant itself has 400,000 workers. And the reporter found out about 9 suicides. How many more there were is anybody's guess. The suicide rate is through the roof.

RE: How utterly...average.
By Firebat5 on 5/22/2010 12:20:00 PM , Rating: 2
The article states that, "Given the fact that Foxconn's Shenzen plant that builds Apple's iPads, iPods, and iPhones has 400,000 employees, that part wasn't too hard."

Apparently the plant that the reporter worked at employs 400,000 people at any given time.

RE: How utterly...average.
By Danger D on 5/24/2010 9:58:36 AM , Rating: 2
I would guess that's an error, then. I can't imagine on manufacturing plant having 400,000 people. I'm pretty sure it's the company, but I'd love for someone with outside knowledge here to fill me in for sure.

My initial contention still stands, though. The suicide rate isn't 9 per 400,000. The reporter just knows about 9.

Because Foxconn only makes apple products....
By Cheesetogo on 5/19/2010 5:31:55 PM , Rating: 2
Foxconn is the 2nd largest producer of motherboards in the world. Motherboards that are used in PCs . They're also very large producers of many other products used in computers, such as heatsinks.

But I'm sure that all of the factories that make PC components are nothing like this one. Obviously, Steve Jobs has requested that the employees at the iPhone factory be treated worse and paid less than the rest of Foxconn's workforce. Or maybe Jason Mick is just a sensationalist "journalist" who can't wait to find any dirt he can on Apple, no matter how full of bullshit it is.

By clovell on 5/19/2010 6:20:53 PM , Rating: 2
Just makes me miss the days when MachSpeed still made mobos. It was nice to have an American mobo manufcaturer for a few years...

By afkrotch on 5/20/2010 12:22:25 AM , Rating: 3
Actually, those motherboards find their way into many things. Not just PCs. The PS3, the 360, the Wii being some of them.

Why not sports?
By Sanctusx2 on 5/19/2010 4:10:51 PM , Rating: 1
I don't get the rage dolls thing. Wouldn't a basketball/volleyball court or gym be more effective while also raising morale?

Beating the crap out of something out of something periodically probably isn't a healthy long-term solution.

RE: Why not sports?
By theArchMichael on 5/19/2010 4:43:07 PM , Rating: 5
Beating the crap out of something out of something periodically probably isn't a healthy long-term solution.

No... too easy...

By androticus on 5/20/2010 12:05:05 AM , Rating: 5
Where to start with all the flaws and omissions in this article?

1. Clearly this article and the source it is based on have an extremely biased agenda, and it shows -- the conclusion is already known (the factory is "hell") and all we need to do is only show anything that supports that claim.
2. Suicide figures are cited, but never compared to any norm. How different is this rate from that at other factories? Other industries? The general population average? Maybe they are lower, for all we know, but we are never given that information, we are only supposed to infer it is bad.
3. The article claims the conditions and wages are "hellish", yet the workers voluntarily chose to work there, suggesting the wages and conditions are at least as good as available elsewhere (I am not claiming that any form of worker mistreatment is practical business, but just pointing out that this factory may not be worse than others, and could in fact easily be better.)
4. Many claims are made based on the one journalist, but no workers are quoted. What about a small random sample of feedback on the conditions by actual workers, so that we get an unbiased sample of opinion? Maybe those workers think the conditions are much better than previous jobs or available elsewhere.

Once again, Jason Mick demonstrates what a sad difference there is between a journalist and... whatever it is that he is...

Corporations are sociopaths
By WinstonSmith on 5/20/2010 10:54:36 AM , Rating: 3
Grading them by the characteristics of sociopaths, corporations are sociopaths.

RE: Corporations are sociopaths
By lightfoot on 5/20/2010 11:48:05 AM , Rating: 2
Grading them by the characteristics of sociopaths, so too are most movie stars, politicians and law enforcement officers. What is your point?

Jobs stress doll
By MadMan007 on 5/19/2010 3:53:52 PM , Rating: 2
They need to paste a photo of Jobds on one of those stress dolls. Heck they could make that a new business development and export them to the US where all the Apple haters can take out their nerd rage in physical fashion rather than just typing angry words!

RE: Jobs stress doll
By Davelo on 5/24/2010 5:30:08 PM , Rating: 2
Except for missing that smug look of self importance, I thought it was Jobs' face on the dummy on the right.

No clue...
By The0ne on 5/19/2010 6:38:39 PM , Rating: 3
I for one do agree this should stop but it's not an easy problem to deal with. Firstly, American companies want cheap labor which they get overseas. Secondly, China could care less how their citizens are getting paid, not to mention how they are treated.

Both issues are are enormous in scope and if you try to change one then why not for all? Every company in China (99.9%) pays their factory worker low wages. If you want to stop Apple, stop GE, stop the automakers, stop those motherboard mfg. To just stand by and voice your anger at Apple alone is simply not enough nor fair to begin with.

And like Apple, China will only care about its citizens if they comply to their wishes. This is NOT going to change anytime soon and no one, especially any person here, can do anything about it.

Counselors and Dummies to beat up
By aguilpa1 on 5/20/2010 9:56:40 AM , Rating: 2
and yet..., they spend no time or money on the root of the problem of despair and suicides. Raise their salaries to match the countless hours stolen from them and give them the time off to live the lives they have earned.

Not my problem
By TechIsGr8 on 5/20/2010 11:38:56 AM , Rating: 2
The conservative leadership in the US has told us this is not a problem, because we get so many earthly benefits from the cheap stuff they make. Free market advocates insist the market will take care of itself, and suicide is, in fact, a free market choice. This is a good thing that workers are able to exercise their own free will to commit suicide. Therefore, nothing to see here, move along.

I know this is no joke but.....
By Tony Swash on 5/20/2010 11:53:02 AM , Rating: 2
I know this is no joke but when I saw this story it made me immediately remember an Easter Egg in the old Mac system software.

Back in the 1990s if you used a resource editor to open a rather obscure file in the Macintosh System folder the first thing you saw was this message: "Help we are being held hostage in a software factory!"

By Ammohunt on 5/20/2010 3:14:46 PM , Rating: 2
If they (the Chinese) are so concerned about the standard of living; have them grab a rifle, organize and and fight for a better way of life. They can start by throwing out the communists.

By Funky Santa Clause on 5/21/2010 4:02:23 AM , Rating: 2
Nokia has it´s own factories all over world and they can make cheap phones with good profit and treat their workers better..!

Apple should copy Nokia like they do anyways..=)

The way I live..^_^
By Setsunayaki on 5/25/2010 1:10:31 AM , Rating: 2
Rather than write an Anti-Chinese or Pro-Chinese response, I want to look at another approach...

The world operates on a One-Value System. All what this means is that any item in the world has one value, all linked to currency. Yuan, Dollars, Euros, Yen, etc...If it can be sold, it can be bought.

Described below is why I would pay double for a product like a previous poster asked:

If a sold good cost me $100 based in China, it means I am paying 680 YUAN (6.8 is the current exchange), since China does not operate under the dollar.

If you live in Beijing, China and you wanted to rent a low-end place to start a life...The cost is around 450 - 600 YUAN, per month. A family earning 2000 - 3000 Yuan a month can live and make it there. Living outside of Beijing is also cheaper too for the most part.

$100 translates towards paying the rent a month in Beijing. In the US it costs tons to pay the rent for a place to live per month...However if I knew an Iphone was made in the US, with US parts....I would much rather pay the $200 as I am not giving more than the equivalent to one month's rent directly to a foreign nation in their own currency.

You may pay $100, but truly are being ripped off when you know what it means for them when they get 680 YUAN from you $100. Paying 200 USD to a local company may cost double in actual figures, but believe it or not in the long run economically you get a better deal, since buying locally improves your economy.

If the value of your goods are higher than the value of your imports, you get a trade surplus. If the value of your goods are lower than the sales of imports, you have a trade deficit...which is always fixed by "reducing the purchasing power of your currency."

Which that is the reason why we have an economic problem in the US, aside from decades of war...flooding our own markets with currency and other means...

Its not that I like or don't like China. Its that Economically I do not want to give anymore more money than the equivalent of what my lifestyle costs within their own currency. If you do that, then you are the one being ripped off anyway you slice it.

For this reason I learned a lot about global economics, foreign culture and the real value of currency..and because of this..

Most of the products that I own where I live, have not broken down on me...have remained in operation for many years and I have also taken care of them. I look at product quality too, but also if you buy from a domestic means you have also more rights towards warranties and holding a company accountable directly if something goes wrong with your product as well.

If I make $25 an hour at a job, and I work four hours, buy it from China (for example), someone is going to pay the rent that month. If I work 8 hours and buy it from a local factory, I know someone wont pay the rent with that, and so more of my money has a greater value over the product itself...and im helping the economy too.

By melgross on 5/19/10, Rating: 0
RE: Crap!
By Earthmonger on 5/19/2010 4:51:18 PM , Rating: 1
This article is here to draw attention to the fact that Foxconn doesn't seem to be doing all they can to provide a comfortable working environment. Given their status as a giant in the electronics industry, you'd think they would, since training new employees costs precious time and resources.

By p05esto on 5/19/2010 7:20:46 PM , Rating: 1
Down with Apple, the world unite! Leave their overpriced wannabe hip, turtleneck sweater wearing products on the shelf. There are better products out there for much cheaper. Fight the marketing machine people, buy products with your brains, not based on the fad of the day!!!! Techies unite, Apple is for wannabe "techies"!

RE:Steve Job and his ibloods
By snakeeater330 on 5/24/2010 12:18:25 AM , Rating: 1
Steve Jobs is the biggest douche bag in this industry... They provided dummies to reduce the suicidal rates I mean what the fuck!!! and apple agreed!!! Steve jobs is a MONEY-GRABING-POMPOUS-ARROGANT-A**HOLE... and I meant it with all the respect in the world... They should probably call their iphonies ibloods... like blood diamonds... as employees working on them are treated as slaves...

Media sensationalism at it's best
By msheredy on 5/19/10, Rating: -1
RE: Media sensationalism at it's best
By cochy on 5/19/2010 3:35:31 PM , Rating: 2
Apple must burn for this! BURN!

By zonkie on 5/20/2010 12:55:22 AM , Rating: 2
If it wasn't made in a sweatshop, they blew it!

RE: Media sensationalism at it's best
By smackababy on 5/19/2010 3:38:13 PM , Rating: 2
Execept this is a factory where they make iPods and iPhones. Therefore it is an iPod factory, or more correctly, an Apple iPod factory.

RE: Media sensationalism at it's best
By RjBass on 5/19/2010 3:43:38 PM , Rating: 5
Seriously, when Nike was found to be using child labor the world united against them, forcing them to change their ways. Why should this be any different? Ohhh ya, that's right, if Sir Jobs says it's ok and it just works then he MUST be right.

What Jobs really means is "They (the Chinese people) just work, and work and work, and then die".

By WoWCow on 5/19/2010 4:02:30 PM , Rating: 3
"They (the Chinese people) just work, and work and work, and then die".

Yep, until they finally suffer a boiling heat from rage at 102+ degrees and die (or explode) on their own under extreme stress.

On my own note* I think its quite obvious the qualities of apple product is reflected by the people who makes them, not by the people who uses them.

By hyvonen on 5/19/2010 7:51:21 PM , Rating: 2
The fact that they make iPods and iPhones doesn't make it an exclusive "Apple iPod factory". Foxconn makes a ton of non-Apple stuff.

Apple is being singled out unfairly.

RE: Media sensationalism at it's best
By Danger D on 5/19/2010 3:39:28 PM , Rating: 5
A company is responsible for who makes its products. Nike was hammered for child labor in 3rd world countries, as was Gap. They work to change practices and monitor their suppliers for abuse.

Apparently Apple does not care to do this. It's not like this is the first time they've heard that their supplier has a gaping black hole for a soul. Apple assumes responsibility for supporting this.

RE: Media sensationalism at it's best
By rmclean816 on 5/19/2010 4:06:58 PM , Rating: 2
And they probably knew about it from the start.

By Danger D on 5/19/2010 5:24:16 PM , Rating: 2
If so, at least they responded to the public pressure. I prefer “Oops you caught us.” to “Shut the F up, it’s not our responsibility.”

By alanore on 5/19/2010 3:40:02 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah that like trying to blame BP for Transocean's oil leak...oh wait, eh.

RE: Media sensationalism at it's best
By corduroygt on 5/19/2010 3:42:16 PM , Rating: 3
Yeah, I don't think any of my CE devices are built under better conditions than what's described. Which is really close to the model of pure capitalism: Barely sustain your workers while all the profits go to the owners.
Unions were formed to prevent this sort of thing, but then they went too far. I'd be supporting federal laws that prevent this sort of thing

By xthetenth on 5/20/2010 8:20:37 AM , Rating: 2
That's only the model of pure capitalism when there's a surplus of workers, otherwise they'd be able to demand higher wages. The unions in the US served their purpose though, and we have laws to protect the workers and their ability to get a good wage, which is what China needs but won't get, because they're trying to make as much money for modernization as fast as possible.

By dark matter on 5/19/2010 3:47:53 PM , Rating: 2
What a tool.

RE: Media sensationalism at it's best
By KWRussell on 5/19/10, Rating: 0
RE: Media sensationalism at it's best
By hyvonen on 5/19/2010 7:54:07 PM , Rating: 1
Think of it as DailyTech letting Dell, HP, Microsoft, Amazon, and Sony off the hook, by shifting their share of the blame onto Apple, for what goes on at Foxconn's factory.

^This. Foxconn is a cheapo manufacturer for a bunch of tech companies. It's just popular to attack Apple.

It's just a matter of time before everyone realizes Foxconn makes the vast majority of CPU sockets.

By wired009 on 5/20/2010 2:49:18 AM , Rating: 2
Apple is a target because they have the capability to influence suppliers like Foxconn. We're talking about a company that is nearly the size of Microsoft in market cap. It has a commanding share of portable music devices, so it makes perfect sense for journalists to go after the big shrimp in this situation. It's not some "I feel like picking on Apple today" mentality that many posters like to believe. It boils down to the fact that many consumers relate themselves to Apple. If consumers are aware of the abuses going on at Foxconn, they can make a better informed choice about whether to spend their money on products that come from those sources. Perhaps the article should have mentioned other manufacturers as well since consumers of PC components are also complicit. However, making an impact is really the point here, and that's best served by singling out a large and distinct customer base.

Suicide Rate
By lightfoot on 5/19/10, Rating: -1
RE: Suicide Rate
By dark matter on 5/19/2010 3:45:20 PM , Rating: 3
Yup, I bet there are more suicides in the American porn industry than there are at Foxconn!

RE: Suicide Rate
By RealityCheckDude on 5/19/10, Rating: -1
RE: Suicide Rate
By amanojaku on 5/19/2010 4:42:40 PM , Rating: 5
It was a joke, dammit. Because both porn stars and Foxconn employees get f*cked for a living.

RE: Suicide Rate
By corduroygt on 5/19/2010 7:05:36 PM , Rating: 3
But porn stars get paid better

RE: Suicide Rate
By FaceMaster on 5/19/2010 4:49:59 PM , Rating: 2
You don't 'get' sarcasm, do you?

RE: Suicide Rate
By B3an on 5/19/2010 4:53:27 PM , Rating: 2
You're not very bright.

RE: Suicide Rate
By solarrocker on 5/20/2010 8:46:06 AM , Rating: 2
Look up sarcasme someday

RE: Suicide Rate
By Motoman on 5/19/2010 3:46:53 PM , Rating: 5
Well, since they don't give anyone any breaks, it's clear that Foxconn just doesn't give their employees any time to commit suicide.

Besides, it's against company policy. If you kill yourself, you're in big trouble. Think of the paperwork!

RE: Suicide Rate
By SunAngel on 5/19/2010 4:03:22 PM , Rating: 2
This is my first time asking the mods to bump this to a six. Please do it, this comment earned it.

RE: Suicide Rate
By RealTheXev on 5/19/2010 6:49:56 PM , Rating: 2
I vote for a 6 as well.

RE: Suicide Rate
By theArchMichael on 5/19/2010 4:33:32 PM , Rating: 2
Permission to die Sarge!

RE: Suicide Rate
By mostyle on 5/21/2010 1:37:11 AM , Rating: 2
Bathroom break boss?

You don't need to ask for permission, just go!

RE: Suicide Rate
By xmichaelx on 5/19/2010 4:07:22 PM , Rating: 3
The logical fallacy you're committing has already been pointed out in numerous other articles. (But to catch you up, suicide in China (and nearly everywhere else) is most common among the unemployed, teens, and elderly. So no, one would not expect 56 suicides per year at Foxconn.)

RE: Suicide Rate
By lightfoot on 5/19/2010 6:12:46 PM , Rating: 1
What exactly would one expect from an average company in China?

Without that statistic, your speculation is even less valuable than mine.

RE: Suicide Rate
By wired009 on 5/20/2010 2:21:20 AM , Rating: 2
That's not true. Mike made a good point by pointing out problems with your assumptions. Basically, you've jumped to conclusions by ignoring pertinent details.

RE: Suicide Rate
By lightfoot on 5/20/2010 12:03:23 PM , Rating: 3
Nice way to dodge the question. Let me repeat it just in case you missed it:

What exactly would one expect from an average company in China?

Provide verifiable facts, like I did, not opinion like Mike did. Without a "normal suicide rate" it is impossible to judge if this factory is any better or worse than its competition. Mental illness and depression can occur within any demographic, regardless of age and employment status. Without excluding the background noise from the data set it is impossible to draw an informed conclusion from this very limited data set.

RE: Suicide Rate
By xmichaelx on 5/24/2010 3:35:38 PM , Rating: 2
Mental illness and depression can occur within any demographic, regardless of age and employment status.

Precisely, but your number doesn't take that into consideration. The only way the 46 number makes sense is if suicide rates were identical across all of society -- a ridiculous but physically possible conclusion. BUT it also would mean that suicides were confined to working age people, something far too ridiculous to even consider.

RE: Suicide Rate
By omnicronx on 5/19/2010 4:09:03 PM , Rating: 4
You can swing statistics any way you would like =P..

The average suicide rate in the US is around 0.01%, but do you think that means that every big company in the US hits that average? The answer is not even close, there are particular demographics that fit into the suicidal category, and those with good/less stressful jobs don't usually fall into that bucket.(at least not at the same rate)

Someone with a stressful job, say a Dentist is more likely to kill themselves than say.. a florist..

You can throw all the numbers around you want, but it definately seems the workers are being mistreated when you look at the laws that Foxxconn has been able to bypass. Would you like to work at a facility getting paid chump change, and having your boss tell you that you are going to have to pull a 20 hour work day?

Its also actually 8 suicides now, over a 4.5 month period not a year, so they are averaging closer to 20 suicide deaths per year.

RE: Suicide Rate
By androticus on 5/20/10, Rating: 0
RE: Suicide Rate
By wilki24 on 5/20/2010 1:55:18 AM , Rating: 2
No idea why this was rated down when it asks a legitimate question.

I'm not saying these are great working conditions, but the first thing I thought of when I read the statistics was "How does that compare to the norm?"

This article is a prime example of what is wrong with getting "news" from online sources. Writers are often out to "prove" their preconceived notion, and all too often, the consumers of such editorializing take it on face value, without doing any critical thinking of their own, because the article fits their own preconceived ideas.

Then people go and vote based on that...

Makes me sad sometimes thinking about it.

Jason Mick, you should be ashamed of yourself for perpetuating this kind of "journalism"!!!!

Let's put this into context...
By Estee on 5/19/10, Rating: -1
RE: Let's put this into context...
By ET on 5/19/2010 4:56:14 PM , Rating: 2
"Each employee would sign a 'voluntary overtime affidavit,' in order to waive the 36-hour legal limit on your monthly overtime hours. This isn't a bad thing, though, as many workers think that only factories that offer more overtime are 'good factories,' because 'without overtime, you can hardly make a living.'"

I think it was reasonable to not quote this, as it just underscores that employees are getting a bad salary and work extra long hours, points the article has already mentioned. Although this does suggest that the practice is standard.

By CurseTheSky on 5/19/2010 4:57:24 PM , Rating: 3
Yes, these workers do tend to make a better living at these "hellish" factories than they would "on the own," at least from what I have read in the past. I don't personally have a problem with voluntary employment even if it does have comparatively poor (but humane) conditions; however, I do have a problem with multi-billion dollar companies that let this stuff go by day to day and only think of their bottom line.

While, no doubt, thousands of businesses are guilty of such practices, it really hits home with Apple. For a business that brags about their trendiness and has somewhat of a "don't buy their stuff, buy ours and save the Earth / Kids / Family Values / Whales" attitude, you'd think they'd jump ship over night, halting production of their products, and immediately looking for somewhere that will manufacture their gadgets without driving their employees to suicide.

But nope, developing (and subsequently banking millions or billions on) the latest and greatest gadget is far more important.

RE: Let's put this into context...
By Yawgm0th on 5/19/2010 5:15:27 PM , Rating: 2
There is one rule for the industrialist and that is: make the best quality of goods possible at the lowest cost possible, paying the highest wages possible.

Sure, things could be worse for the Foxconn employees. That doesn't excuse the inhuman working conditions or the low wages. The market could bear increased wages without a significant adjustment the demand curve of Apple products or, ultimately, output. Even the point at which marginal revenue meets marginal cost wouldn't be drastically altered for Apple. Total revenue minus total cost and average revenue minus average cost, would, of course, would be reduced.

Jobs, however, is no Henry Ford, nor is the leadership at Foxconn. In the absence of legitimately benevolent corporate leadership, strong (not overbearing; just strong) regulation of working conditions, hours, and wages is necessary. China is called communist or socialist erroneously, capitalist hyperbolically. and state capitalist, somewhat accurately. The reality is that China is essentially a feudal state, with workers owing their lives to corporate (feudal) lords for subsistence wages.

Yes, China would be worse off without western globalization and an undervalued yuan giving them huge manufacturing labor market share. That doesn't mean that the plight of their workers should be ignored, morally hedged, or justified simply because they're "better off".

RE: Let's put this into context...
By borowki2 on 5/19/2010 5:48:22 PM , Rating: 1
The suicide rate in China is a bout 14 per 100,000 adults per year. So in a factory with 400,000 workers, we would expect 56 suicides a year, or about 19 over a four and a half months. The fact that only seven did so shows that Foxconn workers are less depressed than the general. In fact, the suicide rate at the factory is lower than that of the US. More iPhone owners likely had committed suicide in the same timespan.

RE: Let's put this into context...
By wiz220 on 5/19/2010 6:23:03 PM , Rating: 2
Ya, I was also going to ask, if you took the standard suicide rate of the population, is 16 suicides/attempts out of line with a sample size as large as 400,000 individuals? Also, do we have suicide notes from these people saying "I can't take it at the factory anymore" or are we assuming that work was the cause?

RE: Let's put this into context...
By wiz220 on 5/19/2010 6:29:21 PM , Rating: 3
Just wanted to clarify. I'm not defending Apple here, if they have the power to do so, I think they should definitely strive to make conditions better for the people producing their products. Apple, after all, has FAR higher margins than most other companies (even in other industries) and could easily afford it. As others pointed out, other companies have been held accountable and now do a better job of monitoring the conditions of the third party companies producing their goods.

My primary point was that some of the data COULD be skewed a bit and not give the full picture.

By gabetowers on 5/24/2010 7:41:44 PM , Rating: 2
Another thing that must be post into context is how much $130/month can buy in communist China. I visited ShenZhen and there is no lack of people comming from the communist part of China to get a job one one of the countless factories there. They work hard, save money and they go back to their village as "kings". And the fact is that Foxconn is not doing anything illegal. People there work there because they want. If they don't want, they can always go back to the village they came from.

By icanhascpu on 5/19/10, Rating: -1
“So far we have not seen a single Android device that does not infringe on our patents." -- Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith

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