Photos Of The Apple Supply Chain From Inside Foxconn [Gallery]



This morning we showed you the preview of ABC Nightline’s exclusive look inside Foxconn that’s set to air tomorrow night. Apple has granted anchor Bill Weir unprecedented access to its Chinese supply chain, and ABC News has already published a fascinating report and gallery of pictures from its recent trip.

In a three-golf-cart convoy, both Apple and Foxconn reps took us around to a half dozen production lines in Shenzhen and Chengdu, and there were always five to six people with us as we toured the factories and dorms. But aside from suggesting a visit to the counseling center or canteen, they never steered us to interviews and never interrupted.

18 Foxconn employees have committed suicide over the last several years, helping to call into question the manufacturer’s treatment of its workers. According to ABC News, the suicide nets were a result of Tim Cook asking physiologists how to deter jumpers. Nearly 90 Foxconn workers have been injured in a series of explosions at iPad and iPhone plants over the last couple years. The giant manufacturer employs over 1 million people.

Foxconn’s employees make so little that the Chinese government doesn’t even withdraw payroll taxes. When you buy a new iPhone, you’re spending about the same amount that Foxconn worker will make in an entire month.

As China’s largest exporter, only the government employs more people than Foxconn, and the company earns more revenue than their next 10 competitors combined. Apple may be their most famous customer, but Foxconn also churns out products for Sony, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, I.B.M., Motorola, Toshiba and other major brands, keeping the details of each production line wrapped in total secrecy.

In order to make gadgets like the Xbox, the PlayStation and the Amazon Kindle this campus employs 235,000 people, roughly the population of Orlando, Fla.

And everywhere you look, on every factory and dormitory, in every stairwell and atrium, are suicide nets.

Read the story by Bill Weir for Nightline at ABC News. More pictures from inside Foxconn are also available.

  • JeffBenjam

    As expected, from the looks of it those pretty wack conditions for those folks. Just look at the sleeping arrangements. I’ll wait to I hear the whole story, but I don’t see how Apple can come away looking any better.

  • HotGG

    So, are American workers willing to be that disciplined and orderly and focused on the job? It begs to ask, are our American workers willing to do these jobs without chatting, gossiping, working slow, and are technically adept like these Chinese workers?

    If Americans want jobs back, are they willing to do this type of meticulous repetitive work? 

    I’m not too confident, because as the comment above^ suggests, Americans think those are pretty “wack conditions” for those folks and I am referring to the work environment.

    As for living conditions, thats the only thing I have a huge problem with. They deserve better but that may have nothing to do with Apple. People will look for the negative and focus on that, sure, but that says more about China as a culture as far as living conditions are concerned than Apple. 

  • soupbamac


  • Scott Boardwine

    Apple is doing damage control and wasting money on something that nobody cares about. The average Apple nut would buy their iPads and iPhones if they ran on the blood of babies and were built from the bones of kittens. Repeat nobody in American gives two Sh*ts about slave labor in China as long as they have their preciouses.

  • FriarNurgle

    It’s better than some of the alternatives in China. Still glad the exposure is hopefully going to make things a little better for these people. 

  • mossman

    I’d like to see conditions and wages improve for them, and to be honest, would happily pay a little bit more to help this.

  • Eric

    Suicides happened in non-Apple production facilities.

  • vistarox

    The photos really upset me. Apple has now lost my business. iPad 3, the next iPhone, the redesigned MacBook Pros and the new Apple TV will definitely most likely be the last Apple products I buy. 

    -And yes, this is sarcasm.

  • JeffBenjam

    I was mainly referring to living conditions. Though the working conditions aren’t much better. They look like they’re being herded like cattle.

  • William

    Look China is a developing country, millions of people work in factories and live in dormitories. It’s not what we expect here, but there are many people in the UK who live in pretty hellish conditions too. Many people in the factories have left abject poverty of rural areas and $1.50 an hour is a good wage for an unskilled worker in China. Things are cheaper in China than they are here in London. Inequality is hard to bear, especially when we look at the megaprofits Apple is making. But look around you, everything is being made in China and you, like everyone else is lapping it up. In the west we have enjoyed cheaper products which has helped to keep inflation down. China too is growing faster than any other economy, and whilst workers grumble like all workers grumble, the Chinese are actually optimistic about the future and their new found upward mobility. It’s not much by our standards, but they are working hard like we did during the industrial revolution. Eventually hard workers did OK and it drove the UK out of poverty. It’s not a perfect world we live in, but there is enough win win going on even with Apple in China for it to be sustainable. How many factory employees do you need to build 250 million iOS devices, and what is the suicide rate amongst young factory workers anywhere. It’s not OK that people take their own lives but suicides happen, it does not mean it’s Apple’s fault. 


    It is true that a lot of non-apple products that get produced, are done by persons who face similar and even worse conditions, and if one should take action in protest against Apple, then similar action should be taken against the other aforementioned companies . Pretty much all of them, mentioned in the article are, or have been at some point top ‘electronics’ companies. Now Apple is on the rise, it seem only now that the conditions faced by Foxconn workers are being highlighted, and more frequently.

  • poppa1138

    it’s not just about Apple and Foxconn,most goods and sports clothing etc manufactured in the far east are sweat shop’s and child labour,thats why things are made there,it’s cheap labour.

  • Sarah

     Well… you might as well just buy absolutely NOTHING made in China then. It’s not like it’s ONLY Apple that has factories in China. I bet pretty much every electronic, among other things, that you own was made in China under these same conditions or worse.

  • Joo Joo

    I am android user and i wants to say something about this. It is unfair for Apple to take all the responsibilities of improving the worker’s condition. As you can see, Foxconn also providing parts for other major companies such as Dell and Motorola. Why the rest of them did not perform any actions but only Apple? Dell, Motorola, etc disappoints me.


    And then I wonder how much Foxconn makes providing services to these companies. I imagine it is the company that should at some level be responsible, better wages for the staff etc.

  • JustDl Betty

    Check FOXCONN.COM or WIKIPEDIA and see Amazon,  Microsoft, LG, VISIO and all of them who USE FOXCONN it’s NOT just APPLE I’m so sick of this

  • JeffBenjam

    Um, I’m well aware of this. That doesn’t make it any more right. I’m just stating the obvious, no need to have an aneurysm. 

  • JustDl Betty

    Many of us did that kind of “slave labor” electronics assembly, factory work, manufacturing, until our jobs got taken away and no they were NOT glamorous or very safe but it was a good job. My beloved gram retired from a bandage and gauze making factory in Connecticut at the age of 65, no heat, no air conditioning, her home had a gas stove for heat and she had no hot water. She was a dignified graceful lady very small, 4’11” and was grateful for her job. She was so good at it that they gave this tiny woman a double machine to fun, and inhaling gauze and fabric dust etc is NOT good for you.   I didn’t see anyone up in arms about that! And yes that was in the 80s until the jobs were taken from those of US who needed them. 

  • JustDl Betty

    Or it’s just working class labor, I know I did it until we could not even keep up with then undercutting our prices, which were so low we had to start working out of our homes, the kids helped, piece work, no health insurance, and many of us needed our jobs. 

  • Donald Annis

    Yes my little Chinese laborers.. Work hard, build my new shiny apple device for me!, not enough blood and sweat in my iPad! Why should I pay that extra few dollars, I’m American dammit!

  • Joshua_Falken

     Not only that but they are worked until they are crippled, they do repetitive tasks until their joints are like gravel in a balloon, and then they are thrown away. If they can find work elsewhere, they are lucky. They have people in their mid 20s with debilitating nerve and joint damage.

    All could be fixed by allowing the people to rotate jobs or employing more automation but it’s cheaper to just kick the old employee out and bring someone new in.  

  • MydoGisgreat

    The real question is if America is ready for its citizens to live on $1.28 a day. 

  • Barton Lynch

    Please read your comment. You sound absolutely ridiculous. I really hope you are being sarcastic. If you are stopping buying Apple in order to be more virtuous then you wouldn’t buy the next products. You’re truly pathetic.

  • vistarox

    I was being sarcastic.

  • mlahero

    It sounds like you think that’s an excuse.

  • Leiryv

    Starting from $285? Please, Indonesian labor wages start from $80, monthly. Not including meals. And they have to live in a “dorm” made of wood and steel plates, and no beds, just a sheet of blanket.

  • Trisjen1983

    These people don’t even have mattresses to sleep on. They are making all these products and are probably sworn to secrecy about each one and these are the living conditions!!! Their is no way!!

  • Trisjen1983

    Who cares, you aren’t getting paid for being on Apple defense!!! This article is about Foxxconn and Apple, no need to mention Amazon, Microsoft, etc

  • Trisjen1983

    You want to put an end to this: bring all jobs back to the USA. But because of politics and Apple’s greed they won’t. Apple keeps all things in house so that’s why you see record breaking profits. They don’t have any payouts to no one!

  • Ive

    No need to mention Apple, Microsoft or Amazon. Its a Foxconn and Chona government issue

  • GH

    What?  It looks fine.

  • Munstr

    I am glad that there are a lot of comments. It shows that people are not ignorant.
    However, the facts is that this issue is not about Apple and it is not about Foxconn or China and USA for that matter. This issue is global issue. What we are seeing is the result of brutal, uncompromising globalization. People exploit the economical arbitrage as they would any other form of arbitrage. The only way to break this vicious circle is for China and USA, EU and the rest of the world to come together and solve the issue. Also i would like to point out that the problems is not in the supply but it is in demand. If you want latest and the greatest but you are willing to pay less that it costs to produce this delta will be externalized somehow, somewhere. It could be the working conditions, repetitive work which lead to injuries, cheap labor which is tricked into working long shifts with little or no pay. So here the question is are you willing to pay this delta?
    The other fact is hard economic reality. Out of almost 7 billion people probably 5.5 are willing to work in any conditions due to lack of opportunities, education and other social factors. So there always will be people who will take advantage of them. But the real shocking truth is because people demand cheap products there will be sweatshops.
    However, the root of the problem is DEMAND. If there are no people who would like to buy slaves there WILL BE NO SLAVES. But as long as average Joe want to have a BJ for $5 there and to have $2 a gallon petrol there will be an abducted girl forced to give him a BJ and chaos in oil rich countries like Iraq.
    Moreover, I would like to point out that Foxconn is a tiny company compared to other BIG company that produce everything for you. The biggest employer after the government in China is Laogai and not Foxconn. At any time they employ 3-5 million Chinese forced laborers. Basically it is Auschwitz which produces the Simpsons sleepers, your jeans, your underwear, your boot, your you name it. if you can’t I will everything. Have you ever wondered why Simpson sleepers priced that low?
    I believe that people need to ask themselves are they willing to do what it takes?
    Are you willing to pay this delta? Are you wiling to ask yourself where this product is produced and how? Are you willing to pay the real price of goods? Are you ready to pay the real price for petrol? 
    I did not think so. You are not ready and you will never be, because one stupid American valued higher than the whole population of the any country. This is the foundation of the most evil empire that I know of. You should take example from Brits. They sacrificed they empire for the the RIGHT cause: fighting Hitler.
    And what cause is America spreading? Democracy? Human rights? Free migration? Economic opportunities? Access to clean water and education?
    Maybe in parallel universe but not in this. Did you know that it take 4 glasses of water to produce one glass on Coke? Did you know that Amazon forest is getting destroyed for the charcoal to heat the furnices that produce the pig iron  that is used to produce steel for your F250 or Cadillac Escalade? Have you ever wondered how this charcoal is made? Did not think so.
    Get educated, get informed, vote for your believes with your wallet. Make a change in this world. We are all people, we all feel pain in the same way. We have same dreams. All of us want to have a better life for our children. Do not let this generation ruin the life or the next one. Have compassion and help your fellow human being. At the end of the day 99.98% our jeans are same for everybody. So we are one family. Lets not turn it into incest.

  • joewaylo

    Those beds sure look comfy. Looks like cheap barracks.

  • Teppka

    looks more like a jail

  • Mike Rathjen

    My friend who was a submariner thinks those Foxconn sleeping arrangements are really generous.

    Perhaps we should petition Apple to make the US Navy increase their submarine bunk size.

  • MattEisen

    I’m sorry, but that’s not actually the issue. You need to take purchasing power parity into account; what does $1.28 a day buy you *in* China?

    Foxconn employees earn $290 per month. That’s a lot more than $1.28 per day! 

    As a northern European my salary is far above the US average, the minimum wage here is at least $27 an hour! The average is much higher. A beer alone costs $15-18 at a normal bar here. Prices are higher and so are the salaries.

    The salary level is lower in China because it’s adjusted to suit Chinese salary and price levels. They pay twice the minimum wage at Foxconn now. It’s more than sufficient for Chinese factory workers. It’s not a white collar job in China either.

    Calculations that have been done show that US salaries would only increase the cost of an iPhone by $65. The real issue is infrastructure and scale. That would add an additional $1000 to the cost.

  • George Konsta

    China is one of the worlds most developing economies, this is the way to get there, 80% of the population in China lives with a salary of 2$ the day. The rest 20% takes advantage of them, and all of us together:  We just consume…