June 13, 2006

Inside China's iPod sweat-shops

Originally from Boing Boing, reBlogged by ts

Cory Doctorow: A British paper sent a reporter to “iPod City,” the plant in Longhua, China, where iPods are assembled by women who earn $50/month for working 15 hour days.

My guess is that this is no worse than the conditions in which Powerbooks, Thinkpads, Zens, Linksys routers, etc are manufactured, but Christ, this is depressing.

The Mail visited some of these factories and spoke with staff there. It reports that Foxconn’s Longhua plant houses 200,000 workers, remarking: “This iPod City has a population bigger than Newcastle’s.”

The report claims Longhua’s workers live in dormitories that house 100 people, and that visitors from the outside world are not permitted. Workers toil for 15-hours a day to make the iconic music player, the report claims. They earn 27 per month. The report reveals that the iPod nano is made in a five-storey factory (E3) that is secured by police officers.

Another factory in Suzhou, Shanghai, makes iPod shuffles. The workers are housed outside the plant, and earn 54 per month - but they must pay for their accommodation and food, “which takes up half their salaries”, the report observes.


Update: A former Nokia employee adds, “Add Nokia phones to your list. The type label may say ‘Made in Finland’ (top-notch models) or ‘Made in Hungary’ (mid-range ones), but Nokia cellphone engines (ie. the actual hardware) are manufactured by Foxconn in Longhua, China… unless they’ve found a cheaper supplier. Yes, I actually worked at the plant for a few months between real jobs.”