Print 10 comment(s) - last by Noya.. on Mar 29 at 10:45 PM

Apple CEO Tim Cook (L) and Vice Premier Li Keqiang (R)  (Source:
Cook likely made the trip to counter negative reports about the conditions of Apple's plants in China

Apple CEO Tim Cook recently took a trip to China to meet with Vice Premier Li Keqiang and to also visit Apple's new Foxconn Zhengzhou iPhone plant.

Earlier this week, Cook met with Vice Premier Li Keqiang in order to discuss trade and economic cooperation between China and the United States. According to Xinhuanet, the vice premier asked that companies around the world "expand cooperation with China, actively participate in the development of the western part of China, pay more attention to caring for workers and share development opportunities with the Chinese side."

Cook responded positively, saying that Apple would cooperate with China and abide by requests to up Apple's participation in development in China. Likewise, Li said the Chinese government would conduct technological innovation and augment domestic demands.

After meeting with Li, Cook went on to take a tour of Apple's latest iPhone production facility in Zhengzhou. The Foxconn Zhengzhou iPhone plant in newly built and has 120,000 employees.

Cook likely made the trip due to the negative report that The New York Times published earlier this year. In January, NYT blasted Apple in its second installment of the iEconomy series, which focused on the poor treatment and harsh working conditions that employees at Apple's suppliers' Chinese factories must endure. The report cited problems like long hours, exhaustion, lengthy overtime, unsafe working environments, underage employment, and crowded living conditions at these factories. In addition, the report noted that Apple was made aware of these violations on an annual basis since 2007, but never did anything to stop it.

Apple CEO Tim Cook tours Foxconn's Zhengzhou iPhone plant [Source: Bloomberg]

Cook was outraged by the claims, saying that Apple cares about each and every one of its employees whether they're in the United States or overseas. Cook even sent an email to all Apple employees explaining what happened, and telling them that the company cares for them. Apple even signed up to join the Fair Labor Association (FLA) in January, which subjects all of Apple's plants to random inspections.

Later, in February, the FLA visited Apple's Foxconn factories in China and said that the employees were not being pushed to their limits or working in harsh conditions. In fact, the FLA referred to the facilities as "first class."

Nevertheless, Cook likely wants to show that he is making an effort to check up on these facilities in question himself, and to create stronger ties with China along the way.

Sources: xinhuanet, Bloomberg

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By thisisthecall on 3/29/2012 10:45:17 AM , Rating: 2
I should imagine any flaws in the plant would have been washed over.
Like here in the UK we the school I work in was inspected.
They have a 2/3 weeks heads up to get everything looking pretty.
Soon after the inspection the whole place relapses into chaos again.
I’m not saying that the factory conditions are good/bad, it’s just a high profile inspection from one of your biggest partners/customers is going to be made to look good.

RE: Staged?
By retrospooty on 3/29/2012 11:33:25 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly. I have been in many manufacturing plants in my life. Believe me, any time a tour or an inspection or any VIP visit, they take alot of time to clean up and make things appear perfect.

RE: Staged?
By Tony Swash on 3/29/2012 12:27:46 PM , Rating: 2
One way to find out more is to see what independent investigative journalists have come with: /tech-blog/2012-03-20-now-can-we-start-talking-abou t-the-real-foxconn/
(take out spaces to around DTs spam filter)

RE: Staged?
By retrospooty on 3/29/2012 12:46:12 PM , Rating: 2
YEs, but it means nothing. These independant tour/inspections are the same. They clean things up when a tour is coming.

I am not knocking Apple for foxconn's manufacturing/HR issues. I am not even knocking Foxconn... All I am saying is that factory tours are pretty pointless if the gaol is to find any negative issues that are suspected. They will carefully hide anything that might be looked upon in a bad light. All manufacturers do that.

lol @ the Chinese Apple logo
By ShaolinSoccer on 3/29/2012 10:13:56 AM , Rating: 4
That made my day

Sense of scale
By KnightBreed on 3/29/2012 12:32:32 PM , Rating: 2
After meeting with Li, Cook went on to take a tour of Apple's latest iPhone production facility in Zhengzhou. The Foxconn Zhengzhou iPhone plant in newly built and has 120,000 employees.

I'm in awe over the scale of these facilities. There is nothing to compare it to in the U.S. There hasn't been manufacturing capability like that here since the turn of the last century. And the volume of product actually turned then probably doesn't even compare. That's incredible.

Costs aside, where in the U.S. could you actually build a facility like that and still churn out consistant product? People here look down at $12-14/hour factory jobs. All they'd get is unskilled, apathetic teenagers who couldn't give two shits about their job.

I get pissed off every time some rat bastard CEO closes a plant here to save 5% on costs. But something at this scale, can it be done?

RE: Sense of scale
By Noya on 3/29/2012 10:45:24 PM , Rating: 2
But something at this scale, can it be done?

Of course!

Look at our "food" system and the massive amounts of illegal aliens it employs.

this article must be a draft
By xti on 3/29/2012 10:31:12 AM , Rating: 3
...there was no apple bashing...omg she killed JM.

Had to be done
By Commodus on 3/29/2012 11:34:00 AM , Rating: 2
As people said, there's no doubt that any of the glaring abuses were hidden away when Cook came in.

But he probably knows and expects that -- he didn't get to be COO and now CEO of the most successful company in the world because he wasn't astute. He still probably had to go just to say he really had been there for himself and had an inkling of the environment. When you're under that much criticism, you have to at least make that gesture.

Now, let's see Michael Dell, Meg Whitman, Stephen Elop, Satoru Iwata, and Kaz Hirai make visits to Foxconn, since their companies use its manufacturing as well.

Great for him.....
By Cheesew1z69 on 3/29/2012 9:21:19 PM , Rating: 2
Cook even sent an email to all Apple employees explaining what happened, and telling them that the company cares for them.
But the Foxconn employees are just that, Foxconn employees, so I doubt he cares that much for them.

"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer

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