Chinese devaluation is terrible for Apple, great for its suppliers

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Tim Cook meets with Apple Store employees in China.
Tim Cook meets with Apple Store employees in China.
Photo: Apple

China’s surprise devaluation of the yuan is likely to have a massive impact on Apple and its suppliers.

China devalued its currency in an attempt to boost a flagging economy — resulting in the country’s biggest one-day loss in 20 years.

And while some will be celebrating, others (likely including Tim Cook) can’t be too happy about it!

How much is the life of an iPhone 6 assembler worth? About $12,000

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Tim Cook greeting Foxconn workers in China. Photo: Apple
Tim Cook greeting Foxconn workers in China. Photo: Apple

A Chinese workers’ rights group released a new report today that sheds light on the deplorable working conditions in factories that assemble the iPhone 6. According to China Labor Watch, on February 3, 2015, Pegatron assembly line worker Tian Fulei died while assembling the iPhone 6.

The hospital labeled the cause of death as “sudden death,” but fellow workers say Tian worked long overtime shifts day after day, which gave his family reason to believe that Tian died from overwork.

To smooth things over, Pegatron reportedly offered the family a measly $2,400 as compensation for their son’s death. Tian’s family of farmers couldn’t afford to pay for an expensive independent autopsy to prove the death was work-related. Eventually they took Pegatron’s next offer of $1,277 for his untimely death.

Pegatron insists it does all it can to keep workers happy

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Photo: Apple
A factory worker in China on the iPhone production line. Photo: Apple

Whatever your thoughts on last week’s BBC documentary about the poor worker conditions in factories producing the iPhone, there’s no doubt that it’s brought the topic back into widespread circulation.

Unlike the majority of previous reports, this time the target wasn’t Foxconn, however, but instead the Taiwan-based firm Pegatron Technology, which has been taking an increasing amount of Apple orders as of late.

With negative press circulating about the company mistreating its workers, Pegatron today filed a statement with the Taiwan Stock Exchange, pledging to inspect all negative claims carried in the report and implement improvements to make sure these problems are solved.

BBC shines spotlight back on Apple’s poor working conditions in Asia

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Photo: Apple
Photo: Apple

In a documentary set to air tonight called Apple’s Broken Promises, BBC One went undercover at Pegatron, one of Apple’s main supply chain partners in China. The findings from inside Pegatron’s walls show that “Apple’s promises to protect workers were routinely broken,” according to the report.

Another alarming revelation was that Apple could be using tin dug by impoverished children in illegal Indonesian mines. Apple is denying the allegations, but BBC One is committed to unearthing a sensitive topic the iPhone maker has spent years trying to put to rest.

Rules to live by if you want to be an Apple supplier

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Some of GT Advanced Technology's failed attempts to create sapphire for future iPhones. Photo: WSJ
Some of GT Advanced Technology's failed attempts to create sapphire for future iPhones. Photo: WSJ

Depending on whether or not you can fulfil what is asked of you, being an Apple supplier sounds like it’s either the best or worst experience imaginable.

In the wake of the crashing and burning of Apple’s former sapphire supplier GT Advanced Technologies, some of Cupertino’s other contractors have pitched in with their take; filling the Wall Street Journal in on a few of the lessons they’ve learned along their roller coaster rides with Apple.

The two biggest take-homes? Don’t make promises you can’t keep, and don’t rely too much on Cupertino.