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Foxconn's Chengdu, China plant has reopened two weeks after being struck by deadly explosions.  (Source: M.I.C. Gadget)

The factory is responsible for production of Apple's iPad 2.  (Source: Apple)
It's back to work for Chinese migrants laborers toiling at one of Foxconn's many Apple-centric plants

Poor maintenance at a plant in Chengudu, capital city of China's southern Sichuan province, is believed to have led to an explosion, which tragically took the lives of three Chinese labors.  The explosion was the latest setback for embattled Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd. (2317) subsidiary Foxconn, who manufactured Apple Inc.'s (AAPL) iPad 2 at the facility.  Foxconn last year saw a string of suicides [1][2][3] that highlighted poor working conditions at the company's Chinese plant [1][2].

After an almost two weeks shutdown, the plant has been reopened.  Even as iPad 2 production resumes, Foxconn promises it will try to track down the issues that caused the explosion and install safeguards to prevent future incidents.

Writes a company spokesperson:
While the investigation into the tragic explosion that took place at our facility in Chengdu is ongoing, we have addressed the preliminary finding, that the accident was likely due to an explosion of aluminum dust in a ventilation duct, by putting in place improvements in workshop ventilation, a total revamping of the policies and practices related to the disposal of that dust, and through the application of new technologies that will further enhance the safety in these workshops.

The new measures we are employing in our workshops, which have resumed operation following the review referred to above, are a direct response to our efforts to ensure that we are applying the highest possible safety practices. Should the investigation identify any additional areas where enhancements could be made, we will not hesitate to immediately implement those measures.
Ticonderoga Securities analyst Brian White writes in a note to clients that the explosion may not significantly set back Apple's iPad 2 production, as it is constrained by other, unrelated factors.  He comments:
Our meetings today indicate that the Chengdu facility has been held back by yield issues on certain outside components; thus, the operation may not have reached the optimal utilization rate.  Therefore, the explosion in Chengdu may result in more of an equilibrium situation with certain component vendors, rather than a shortage situation. Netting this all out, we believe the production of iPad 2 will be supply constrained during the June quarter; however, we are not prepared to place the bulk of the blame on the Chengdu operation.
The iPad 2, a device Apple CEO Steven P. Jobs refers to as "magical" sports a number of upgrades from its predecessor, including a dual-core ARMv7 processor, cameras, and an improved PowerVR GPU from Imagination Technologies Group plc (LON:IMG).  The iPad 2 also is 15 percent lighter and 33 percent thinner, taking even Apple's competitors by surprise.

In other iPad related news, China's public was outraged to learn that a teenager sold one of his kidneys to buy an iPad 2, a popular status symbol among Chinese youth.


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Coverage?
By Operandi on 6/3/2011 11:52:19 AM , Rating: 2
Is anyone else surprised that this didn't make mainstream news? If there was an explosion in a Ford plant in the US, or VW plant in Germany I'm sure we'd hear about it...




RE: Coverage?
By Reclaimer77 on 6/3/11, Rating: 0
RE: Coverage?
By Samus on 6/3/2011 12:55:47 PM , Rating: 2
Because bad news in China means bad rap for companies here in the United States, which outsources almost all of its electronics production to China.

There is definately a problem somewhere, because Apple (and most computer/electronics companies) is posting huge profits quarter after quarter, their production partners like Foxconn, Molex, Quanta, Compal, etc, are running razor thin margins and the workers make ridiculously low wages. Foxconn being the largest 3C manufacturer in the world should at least offer better working conditions...I mean, to not clean out an HVAC system is unbelievable. It was probably something as simple as changing a filter on a central air furnace.

There is definately a disconnect. Companies here want to remain profitable, and politically, its in most media circles' best interest to not report damning information that could hurt Apple, or others.


RE: Coverage?
By Reclaimer77 on 6/3/11, Rating: 0
RE: Coverage?
By ClownPuncher on 6/3/2011 3:46:28 PM , Rating: 2
Media is run by our corporations.


RE: Coverage?
By Souka on 6/3/2011 4:20:56 PM , Rating: 2
How about what happend to the "common people" during the Three Gorges Dam construction or the 2008 Summer olympics in Bejing

10's of thousands of people kicked out of their homes and farm, reloacated, and put into crappy high-density apartments...many of which are partially abandoned because people could not live (work) there.

To hell with Foxconn....how about China?

Just saying...that's all...


RE: Coverage?
By Operandi on 6/3/2011 9:02:33 PM , Rating: 2
I at least remember NBC talking about the Olympics, prime time hours even, Three Gorges dam I don't remember hearing about in the mainstream media.

I understand the reasons for it not being receiving mainstream coverage, just surprised at the complete and total lack.


RE: Coverage?
By kattanna on 6/6/2011 11:33:27 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
How about what happend to the "common people" during the Three Gorges Dam construction


actually upwards of a million people were displaced by the building of the damn, well actually the filling of the reservoir behind it. and while that is a lot of people compared to the 1.5 Billion they have, thats not a very big number.

in the following years it will have actually have helped to save that many people, and more im betting, by the much needed flood control it will bring.

this is a perfect case of where the group wins, while some of the individuals lose out. but thats the job of the government, to make decisions based on the needs of the whole.


RE: Coverage?
By ClownPuncher on 6/3/2011 3:45:52 PM , Rating: 2
I've never heard a news outlet in this country, liberal or conservative, praise Chinas form of government. Both sides seem to envy the free market growth China is seeing, however.


RE: Coverage?
By MADAOO7 on 6/3/2011 7:49:16 PM , Rating: 2
First question would be - do you watch the news? It was definitely on there. I first heard about it on CNN while I was running at the gym. It also went across the MSNBC ticker for the day. When I read it on Dailytech that evening, it was probably the third time I had heard/read about it.

You first have to watch the news to know it is not on there.


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