×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Independent Audit Finds Foxconn Violates Chinese Work Rules

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the history-repeating dept.

China 315

doston writes "The first independent audit of Apple's supply chain found excessive working hours and health and safety issues at its largest manufacturer, piling more pressure on the technology giant. This investigation targeted Hon Hai Precision Industry which is known as Foxconn. The company says they will try to stop their overtime criminality by July, 2013. Will the public ever sour on Apple devices in light of the constant media attention on supplier working conditions?"

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

315 comments

Oh fucking Christ (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517599)

You fucking idiots. Every computer, laptop, and Smartphone you own was either manufactured by Foxconn or has parts manufactured by Foxconn.

Re:Oh fucking Christ (4, Insightful)

Tailhook (98486) | about 2 years ago | (#39518003)

What, exactly, is your point?

Apple gets singled out due to its extraordinary profile and profitability. That is inevitable and entirely legitimate. The fact that Foxconn also happens to be central to the supply chain of practically everything with a power cord only highlights the vast scope of the issue. Our electronics are the product of exploitation, abuse and the systematic avoidance of regulatory scrutiny, and it is high time for that to end.

Re:Oh fucking Christ (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about 2 years ago | (#39518057)

I believe the AC's point is that there is no alternative, short of neo-Luddism.

Re:Oh fucking Christ (4, Insightful)

guspasho (941623) | about 2 years ago | (#39518493)

That point is pure bullshit. The US sustained a large manufacturing sector for decades, and it in turn sustained an expansive middle class. The reason for that is unions. Once the unions began to crumble, the manufacturing became outsourced, or the jobs paid less, and the middle class started to crumble. US households now work twice as many hours per week to make what they once did just forty years ago.

The idea that we can't have nice things unless they are made by slave labor, or that the Chinese that make our nice things should be happy with their oppressive conditions, is just bullshit. Apple, for their part, is sitting on nearly 100 billion dollars cash, and could do a lot to improve the quality of life for the people who make their products. The current situation is exactly why we, and the Chinese, need stronger unions.

Re:Oh fucking Christ (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39518671)

No the reason that the American middle class manufacturing sector fell was because of unions not because the unions fell but because they got greedy. Unions became inflexible and businesses said FUCK IT we can manufacture it cheaper go fuck yourself.

Re:Oh fucking Christ (4, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | about 2 years ago | (#39519033)

No, the only people who believe that are the people the pro-business far right has managed to trick.

The right answer is it's actually nobody's fault; the simple fact is the US had a booming manufacturing sector for decades because there was very little competition, with possible competitors either communist, third world, or first world but recovering from WW2.

Re:Oh fucking Christ (3, Insightful)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 2 years ago | (#39519087)

Honestly, I think the outsourcing would have happened regardless. Unions just happened to have accelerated this process via a positive feedback loop. But to be fair about, I wouldn't put the blame squarely on the Unions. They didn't start the process by their mere existence. Of course, they certainly wouldn't have stopped it either.

Finger pointing aside, the reality of globalism is that it exposes one absolute fact about the Western world. We (and thus our currency) is over valued in the market. Our fucked up Federal Gov decided to run up massive debt thinking our GDP would be sustained enough to pull us out of it. It's not. We are losing jobs AND are left holding the bag. Not good.

Basically, we're going to have to wait for the rest of able-bodied world to become expensive before it's no longer cost effective to outsource. Who know how long that will take.

Re:Oh fucking Christ (2)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about 2 years ago | (#39518959)

Of course the idea is bullshit. The reality isn't, however. A person could, for example, settle for older computers that weren't made in East Asia under slavish conditions to improve profit margins. Unfortunately, you'd most likely be looking at fairly antique hardware.

Re:Oh fucking Christ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39519003)

nope. we just have to wait another 30 years for the chinese to outsource back to us.

Re:Oh fucking Christ (1)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 2 years ago | (#39518521)

Our electronics are the product of exploitation, abuse and the systematic avoidance of regulatory scrutiny, and it is high time for that to end

1. You seems to imply that the systematic avoidance of regulatory scrutiny only happen in countries such as China or Thailand or Indonesia

Tell you a fucking truth --- same thing also happen in the U. S. of A.

2. How prepared are you in paying an arm and a leg for s simple hard disk drive? Or a thumb drive? Or an LCD TV? Or your smartphone?

Re:Oh fucking Christ (4, Insightful)

guises (2423402) | about 2 years ago | (#39518619)

Yes, "But Timmy's doing it too!" is never a valid excuse.

The other reason Apple gets singled out is because of their singular ability to change things if they had the will to do so - manufacturer’s will bend over backwards for an Apple contract in a way that they won't do for any other company.

Re:Oh fucking Christ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39518653)

So basically you make sure to buy no electronics at all, right? Oh wait, you're just another Apple-bashing hypocrite.

Close, but no cigar (5, Insightful)

rsilvergun (571051) | about 2 years ago | (#39518927)

You're right that apple gets singled out due to it's extraordinary profitability. But the reason they're singled out is, you'd think a company with a profit margin like that could let the workers live like humans, wouldn't you?

Re:Oh my (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39519005)

Do you use Windows? Because rumor has it they have some of these conditions there, too.

Re:Oh fucking Christ (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39519089)

I think the point is, that this question at the end of TFS, "Will the public ever sour on Apple devices in light of the constant media attention on supplier working conditions?" is simply flamebait. Nobody's disputing that Foxconn's working conditions are problematic, in light of this audit. Foxconn manufactures devices for far more companies that just Apple. So why single out Apple devices as things "the public should sour on?" Should they buy Samsung, HTC, Sony, Motorola, or Nokia devices manufactured by Foxconn instead? Or should we sour on ALL of those devices, refuse to buy them, and engage in a little neo-luddism?

And if we do the latter, do you really think the million or so people out of work at Foxconn would *thank us* for sending them back to working as subsistence farmers in third world poverty?

As distasteful as Foxconn's working conditions may be to your delicate sensibilities, they represent a vast improvement in the average chinese worker's living conditions. That doesn't mean there won't be room for improvement, but you're kidding yourself if you think they take (and continue to work) these jobs unwillingly.

Re:Oh fucking Christ (2)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#39518133)

>>>Every computer, laptop, and Smartphone you own was either manufactured by Foxconn

No actually my Commodore was manufactured in the USA.

Oh you mean CURRENT products..... well yes that's probably true. My windows computer is 10 years old but probably does have some Foxconn parts inside it. HOWEVER apple is supposed to be better than the other manufacturers. They are supposed to be the "good" alternative for us hipsters.

And they really aren't. Their OS is better but not their hardware.

Re:Oh fucking Christ (0, Flamebait)

Desler (1608317) | about 2 years ago | (#39518673)

Actually they are better than the other manufacturers. How many of the other firms who use Foxconn are doing even a fraction of what Apple is doing for the betterment of the people making their products? Oh right, none of them are.

Fox con irony. (3, Interesting)

goombah99 (560566) | about 2 years ago | (#39518297)

What's mildly amusing about this is that some of those worker complaints we heard about were the worker's demand for more overtime.

Re:Fox con irony. (1, Redundant)

goombah99 (560566) | about 2 years ago | (#39518333)

A report from China Business News (via MIC Gadget) profiled Foxconn worker and iPad assembler Wang Xiaoqiao (who opted to hide his real name). According to Wang, iPad line workers are beginning to work fewer hours and get more days off as supply meets demand. Wang said iPad production was ramped up in March, bringing assembly time from 10 hours a day down to 8 hours. However, he is not happy about working less. Wang explained:

“The new iPad production started earlier this year, with one class of workers at each assembly line. Nearly 1,000 units will be mass-produced in a standard shift of 8 hours, plus 2 hours of overtime work. 150 – 180 units were produced during a peak iPad production run in February. However, in March, iPad employees worked fewer hours, and sometimes regular weekday shifts could not be archived My base pay is 2,350 yuan, and I need to pay 190 yuan for social security tax, 120 yuan for housing fund, 110 yuan for accommodation fee, and some money on having meals. I’m going through a difficult time for this month,”
While this might sound like a positive thing for a company often accused of making its employees work excessive hours, Wang said he is not happy about making less money and the lack of bonuses for overtime:

Wang is actually upset about it, since working fewer hours means no bonus pay. Last month, Wang worked six days a week, and got a day off. Today, he gets 3 days off, and work for only 4 days in a week. He was planning to buy new furniture by doing overtime work for more pay, but that seems to be impossible now.

http://9to5mac.com/2012/03/28/as-supply-meets-demand-ipad-line-workers-get-more-days-off-but-are-they-happy/ [9to5mac.com]

Please stick to "news", Slashdot (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517635)

What a loaded article. It sounds like Foxconn's working conditions are actually much better than most companies in China, and the violations are relatively rare considering that the company has over HALF A MILLION employees. They are also responding to the problems that do exist much more quickly and transparently than many other companies have done.

Re:Please stick to "news", Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517869)

Next I guess we'll have to accuse Apple of paying off the Fair Labor Association to ignore all the other violations.

Where are all the other companies that are investigating Chinese Work Rules? Hiding with the hundreds to 10-year old foxconn employees that are now incontinent after being forced to work for 80 hours without a piss break?

(I'd love to see the FLA audit my job for overtime violations!)

Re:Please stick to "news", Slashdot (3, Insightful)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | about 2 years ago | (#39517921)

What a loaded article. It sounds like Foxconn's working conditions are actually much better than most companies in China...

Attack of the Apple apologists. What it actually shows is that Apple in fact has done little to correct the widely publicized working condition problems in its supply chain. Whether these problems exist in China or anywhere else is immaterial: Apple is the beneficiary of these oppressive labour practices in any case. Now Apple is faced with trimming its fat margins as opposed to its usual strategy of hammering its suppliers in underdeveloped economies in order to maintain its precious stock price. As it should have done in the first place, but reality distortion is Apple's entrenched culture. In the best case Apple begins to purge that ethical and moral rot along with some of the other less admirable legacy of its late founder. But the proof is action, not spin, and so far we have just seen spin [computerworld.com] from Apple.

And bear in mind that the Fair Labour Association is on the payroll of Apple and other perps. In other words, the primary purpose of the FLA is to "accredit" the supply chain on behalf of the corps that pay its bills. What is the real truth that would be revealed by a truly independent watchdog?

Re:Please stick to "news", Slashdot (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39518027)

I'm sure the millions of extremely poor subsistence farmers in China who have an unstable food supply, outdated housing and plumbing, and no healthcare are super appreciative that nice white folks like yourself know what's best for them and prevent Apple from exploiting them with a job that pays several dollars per hour and provides comfortable shelter and plentiful food.

Re:Please stick to "news", Slashdot (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39518287)

You gotta go down and join the union
  You got to join it by yourself
  Ain't nobody here can join it for you
  You gotta go down and join the union by yourself

  Working in the factories would kill a dog
  Working on the belt line killed your soul
  Working in the limestone and cement quarries withered your lungs
  Working in the cotton mills shot your legs and feet all to hell
  And working in the steel mills burned up your spirit
  Like a gnat that lit in the melting pot
  But out of this whole mixing bowl of hell and high water
  The working folk have marched against Billy clubs,
  Against machine guns
  And they sang their way through the whole dirty mess

Woody Guthrie

Re:Please stick to "news", Slashdot (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39518711)

Sounds like the same kind of arguments used to support slavery in this country.

Re:Please stick to "news", Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39519041)

Only if you are an idiot

"Try by 2013?" (1)

supaneko (1019638) | about 2 years ago | (#39517637)

Can someone enlighten me as to why they are only willing to try and why this would take more than a year...or any time at all?

Re:"Try by 2013?" (1)

rhook (943951) | about 2 years ago | (#39517807)

This is China we're talking about, they need time to grease the right wheels and get the law changed in their favor.

Re:"Try by 2013?" (1)

Nikker (749551) | about 2 years ago | (#39518015)

That stood out for me too. Wouldn't that imply the contracts Foxconn has already agreed to are based on the currently (over) scheduled hours? Now that their own/Apple's audit has uncovered this they are just going to shrug it off because they don't want to pay for more underpaid employees .... wow we really are going down the rabbit hole aren't we?

Re:"Try by 2013?" (1)

pavera (320634) | about 2 years ago | (#39518035)

My guess would be existing contracts. Their existing contracts with companies (apple, dell, hp, etc) specify their rates for product, if they raise wages, hire more workers and have to continue to deliver product at their existing contract rates, they'll be losing millions per day.

Now obviously, the companies could let Foxconn out of the existing contracts, and/or renegotiate now to raise wages, but they probably don't want to do that... Also, Foxconn probably can't hire an extra 100,000-200,000 workers in a day.

Re:"Try by 2013?" (2)

Nikker (749551) | about 2 years ago | (#39518201)

So if I do something illegal and it would cost me time and/or money to just to stop being illegal then I don't need to stop! I guess I should start stealing stuff because if I stopped I would lose money compared to when I didn't steal!

Re:"Try by 2013?" (1)

pavera (320634) | about 2 years ago | (#39518327)

I'm not saying its right or good, but if China isn't going to fine them for the violations, then what incentive do they have to stop? If China wants this to stop they need to fine Foxconn more than they are making violating the law.

Re:"Try by 2013?" (1)

sjames (1099) | about 2 years ago | (#39518095)

I think I'll try that one should I get pulled over for speeding. Honest officer, I'll try to slow it down within a year or so.

Should I offer to pinkie swear?

Bullshit Anti-Apple Screed (5, Insightful)

jjohnson (62583) | about 2 years ago | (#39517647)

Will the public ever sour on Apple devices in light of the constant media attention on supplier working conditions?

No, because they'd need to sour on all electronics to avoid Foxxcon's (and its ilk's) moral taint.

It's not an Apple problem, it's an industry problem, and Apple does better than most at identifying and correcting these conditions.

Re:Bullshit Anti-Apple Screed (2)

DaMattster (977781) | about 2 years ago | (#39517739)

As others have noted Foxconn is a sub-contractor of multiple companies so really Apple should not be the fall guy. But, this is China and personal freedoms are just not as valued and China is not a democracy.

Re:Bullshit Anti-Apple Screed (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517969)

If the Chinese working laws are not being observed at Foxconn, your point is moot. They are being unlawful, be it a democratic country or not, and should be punished.

It's not about personal freedoms, but legality.

Re:Bullshit Anti-Apple Screed (-1, Troll)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | about 2 years ago | (#39517975)

Foxconn is a sub-contractor of multiple companies so really Apple should not be the fall guy.

Utter rubbish. Apple is by far the biggest beneficiary of these oppressive practices and is riding high on the hog in part because of these abuses.

Re:Bullshit Anti-Apple Screed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39518005)

Prove it.

Re:Bullshit Anti-Apple Screed (0)

Space cowboy (13680) | about 2 years ago | (#39518773)

Foxconn employs 800,000 people, it's the tenth largest company (by head count) in the world. Are you *really* suggesting that Apple goods account for a majority of those people's jobs ? Really ? You think that FoxConn employ over 400,000 people on Apple production lines ?

You, sir, are either an Apple hater, spouting venom without cause or woefully misinformed.

Simon

Re:Bullshit Anti-Apple Screed (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | about 2 years ago | (#39518249)

As others have noted Foxconn is a sub-contractor of multiple companies so really Apple should not be the fall guy. But, this is China and personal freedoms are just not as valued and China is not a democracy.

Foxconn isn't anyone's subcontractor. Foxconn is a contractor. And only an idiot would put blame on Apple here because Apple is the company that hired FLA to do audits at Foxconn exactly for the purpose to find if everything is up to scratch there and to find and fix problems.

However, what is even more stupid is your claim "personal freedoms are just not as valued in China". Show me a Western country where working 48 hours a week is illegal.

Re:Bullshit Anti-Apple Screed (-1)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | about 2 years ago | (#39517961)

It's not an Apple problem...

...according to Apple apologists. Of which a huge herd appears to have swooped upon Slashdot the moment this article appeared.

Re:Bullshit Anti-Apple Screed (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#39518197)

>>>Apple apologists. Of which a huge herd appears to have swooped upon Slashdot

There was a time when Apple was good. After the Atari/Commodore era had ended (70s/80s/early 90s), the Macs were running on the PowerPCs. They were good quality hardware with a decent OS (though not capable of preemptive multitasking until 2002).

Switching to generic Intel PCs through Foxconn was a mistake. IMHO.

Re:Bullshit Anti-Apple Screed (1)

Pi Is A Rational (1106177) | about 2 years ago | (#39518549)

The PPC hardware was cool, but I always felt the OS itself was lacking. I was never really a Macintosh fan, more of an Apple II series type of dude. Switching to x86 was good for Apple, they've made more money than they ever would have selling their laptops.

Re:Bullshit Anti-Apple Screed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39518103)

Well, some of the key demographics that Apple targets make a big show of caring about such things - and many of the products that Apple sells are somewhat frivolous (i.e. high priced entertainment). If Apple mainly sold their products to Ayn Rand types for use in cancer research, the situation might be different.

No not really (5, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 2 years ago | (#39518173)

Turns out you can have your electronics made elsewhere. China is not the only place. They are the cheapest, but when you start paying for higher quality goods, they can be made in other places, often ones with not only better worker conditions but higher quality controls. For example my receiver is made in Japan. The lower end models are made in China but the high end stuff is made in Japan (it is a Japanese company). My speakers were built in Ohio (with the drivers themselves made in Denmark) or the UK (with UK drivers) depending on which ones you are talking about. My TV is less high end, but it was still built in Mexico.

Well guess what? Apple charges high end prices. Don't try and say they don't, their massive profits, massive amount of money in the bank is evidence they do. They can afford to move their production somewhere else if they want. It would mean less profits though.

I'm not saying they need to, I'm not playing morals here. I'm saying that this bullshit of "Oh they can't do anything!" is just that: bullshit. They charge the kind of prices they can produce their shit elsewhere and have the kind of money that they could set up their own production lines presuming they couldn't find anyone who could meet their needs.

However it would mean trading off some profits.

Re:Bullshit Anti-Apple Screed (2)

Raenex (947668) | about 2 years ago | (#39518859)

It's not an Apple problem, it's an industry problem, and Apple does better than most at identifying and correcting these conditions.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/26/business/ieconomy-apples-ipad-and-the-human-costs-for-workers-in-china.html?pagewanted=all [nytimes.com]

"Many major technology companies have worked with factories where conditions are troubling. However, independent monitors and suppliers say some act differently. Executives at multiple suppliers, in interviews, said that Hewlett-Packard and others allowed them slightly more profits and other allowances if they were used to improve worker conditions.

'Our suppliers are very open with us,' said Zoe McMahon, an executive in Hewlett-Packard's supply chain social and environmental responsibility program. 'They let us know when they are struggling to meet our expectations, and that influences our decisions.' "

Good for Apple (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517649)

Considering Apple is trying and doing a well job at finding problems I will continue to buy Apple products. Better than most other companies that don't only not care but will not even look into what is wrong with their suppliers as long as products keep coming.

Equal pressure? (5, Insightful)

NiceGeek (126629) | about 2 years ago | (#39517651)

Anyone going to apply the same pressure to ALL the other computer/phone companies that use the same facilities? I know Slashdot has a extreme anti-Apple bias, but does it blind you to the obvious? The computer you're using right now has parts that were made by Foxconn.

Re:Equal pressure? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517721)

Anyone going to apply the same pressure to ALL the other computer/phone companies that use the same facilities? I know Slashdot has a extreme anti-Apple bias, but does it blind you to the obvious? The computer you're using right now has parts that were made by Foxconn.

That was my reaction. I love this quote from the summary.

"Will the public ever sour on Apple devices in light of the constant media attention on supplier working conditions?"

Rather extreme bias. There's also an assumption that Apple sets the wages and working conditions. Foxconn offers products at a given price and what is Apple to do say they are too cheap? Stop singling out Apple and trying to infer it's all our fault for buying Apple products. According to a recent pole half of all Americans own an Apple product. You can't demand cheap products then be offended when they result in poorly paid workers.

Re:Equal pressure? (5, Insightful)

artor3 (1344997) | about 2 years ago | (#39517967)

While it's not particularly fair for Apple to take the heat for this, that's the price you pay for being the biggest and most influential company in the industry.

Besides, flamebait-y summary aside, people aren't souring on Apple. What they are doing is pressuring Apple to pressure Foxconn. Foxconn then hires more people, pays better wages, and requires shorter hours. The result is that the best workers will go there, and there will be indirect pressure on other Chinese companies to improve their conditions. I know my company is giving across the board ~30% raises to our Chinese workers this year, even though we haven't been in the news at all.

The end result is a good one -- the Chinese working class gets better pay for less work, the working class in the Western world faces less offshoring as Chinese wages rise, and the only drawback is that iGadgets and Androids will cost one or two percent more to manufacture. If Apple has to take a disproportionate amount of blame to achieve these results, so be it. I'm sure their executives are sobbing all the way to the bank.

Re:Equal pressure? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39518009)

Slashdot has a extreme anti-Apple bias

What version of Slashdot are you reading?

Re:Equal pressure? (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about 2 years ago | (#39518025)

Yes. We should boycott APPLE and EVERY OTHER Foxconn customer until they come into compliance with the law.

And those of us who use Foxconn as a supplier should de-source them. There are plenty of other suppliers.

Re:Equal pressure? (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | about 2 years ago | (#39518243)

Yes. We should boycott APPLE and EVERY OTHER Foxconn customer until they come into compliance with the law.

So... Off the top of my head... Microsoft, HP, IBM, Apple, Acer, AMD, ASUS, Cisco, Dell, Intel, Motorolla, Nintendo, Nokia, Samsung, Sony, Toshiba... Whos left that doesn't do anything with Foxconn?

Re:Equal pressure? (2)

exomondo (1725132) | about 2 years ago | (#39518211)

Anyone going to apply the same pressure to ALL the other computer/phone companies that use the same facilities?

Logically you would go for the entity with the most influence over the operator of the facilities, that would be Apple.

I know Slashdot has a extreme anti-Apple bias

I don't know what you've been reading but quite clearly the apple threads on /. are full of discussion (well arguments if we're honest) over apple policies and devices, it's not some apple-hater love-in where everyone is just patting eachother on the back for criticizing apple like you seem to think it is.

Not really (2)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 2 years ago | (#39518305)

My phone is made in Taiwan. I don't know who HTC uses, maybe internal, but it is of Taiwanese origin, not Chinese. My computer does have some Chinese parts in it, namely the powersupply and motherboard, however neither are produced by Foxconn. Not saying the companies that made them (CWT and MSI) are any better, but there you go.

The rest of the components are different countries. My CPU was fabbed by Intel in Chandler, Arizona and packaged by Intel in Costa Rica. My RAM was made by Micron (under their Crucial brand) in the US. Not sure where the chips on it came from, they have plants in the US, Europe, Japan, Israel, Malaysia and so on (none in China yet). My SSDs were made by Western Digital in the US, my HDDs by Western Digital in Malaysia.

None of this is because I'm trying to avoid China or anything, just pointing out that a computer is much more international than you might think. Some components you have no choice on country. Any 32nm Intel CPU was fabbed in the US, since that's where they only 32nm fabs are. They can be packaged in a few places though. Any powersupply was made in China, they have the only people who do, like Seasonic and CWT (only a few companies actually make PSUs, the rest just spec them to order). RAM you can get all over.

If you decide Foxconn is a company you don't approve of, you can avoid them, though it'll likely take some doing.

However I think a big problem people have is that Apple charges premium prices but uses cut rate manufacturing. You can't say they don't charge a premium, how do you suppose they maintain those massive profit margins?

Often when you get premium priced goods, you get better manufacturing too. For example I like Denon receivers. Their cheaper stuff is all made in China. Fair enough. However their higher end units are made in Japan. I suspect part of it is to maintain better quality control, and part of it is just because Denon is Japanese and their Japanese market may care about that.

Re:Not really (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39518757)

My phone is made in Taiwan. I don't know who HTC uses, maybe internal, but it is of Taiwanese origin, not Chinese. My computer does have some Chinese parts in it, namely the powersupply and motherboard, however neither are produced by Foxconn.

Guess what... Foxconn is a Taiwanese company, with headquarters in Taipei.

Re:Equal pressure? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39518723)

"The computer you're using right now has parts that were made by Foxconn."

Oh snap. We're so screwed and hypocritical.

So the guy with a Foxconn capacitor on his Japanese branded German sourced motherboard or somewhere in his made in the US power supply is as equally guilty as the ipad user where the entire machine is nearly made by Foxconn?

Isn't that like saying an anti-gun person is a hypocrite for using GE lightbulbs because GE makes guns for the US military?

There are degrees and measures of difference here.

You are delusional.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517663)

....if you think the working conditions of other manufacturers are any better.

Re:You are delusional.... (0)

Shavano (2541114) | about 2 years ago | (#39518039)

Where's your evidence?

There are many other contract manufacturers in China.

There are many other contract manufacturers NOT in China.

July 2013 = 487 days (1 year, 4 months) (5, Interesting)

PatPending (953482) | about 2 years ago | (#39517679)

Re:July 2013 = 487 days (1 year, 4 months) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517767)

It's taking that long because they're passing on a portion of the profits to the right officials or perhaps are being squeezed for a little more. Hopefully it'll all just blow over. If not, some inspectors will come in and everything will be "legal" for a few days. A little while down the road someone will make waves again and the process keeps on repeating.

Capcha: Patrons.... heh.

Re:July 2013 = 487 days (1 year, 4 months) (1)

pushing-robot (1037830) | about 2 years ago | (#39517939)

Maybe because to reduce the workload per person, they'll have to find more workers (the pool of which is starting to dry up), build more infrastructure to support them, etc. Alternatively, they could automate more tasks, but that would also require time and effort to procure, install, and configure the massive amount of equipment needed.

What, you were expecting them to call all their clients tomorrow and say "Oh, you remember that contract we had for $DEVICE? We're cutting production by 25% starting today. Sorry for the inconvenience."

Re:July 2013 = 487 days (1 year, 4 months) (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about 2 years ago | (#39518099)

not enough workers IN CHINA???

Re:July 2013 = 487 days (1 year, 4 months) (1)

medcalf (68293) | about 2 years ago | (#39518241)

Not enough trained workers in the right place with the support infrastructure to house and feed them. Logistics is everything.

Re:July 2013 = 487 days (1 year, 4 months) (1)

guspasho (941623) | about 2 years ago | (#39518683)

The labor pool is drying up? When Foxconn is the Chinese equivalent of a dream job? I keep hearing about how Chinese are so lucky to be working at Foxconn because it's do much better than most other Chinese can hope for, those 60hour workweeks and rat-infested dormitories are so much better than what anyone else in China has. How can the labor pool be drying up?

Re:July 2013 = 487 days (1 year, 4 months) (1)

canajin56 (660655) | about 2 years ago | (#39518045)

That anecdote shows they can very quickly make a lot of people work more hours. That's the opposite of what they have to do here, which is make more than a million people all work less. Their two options there are dropping contracts and/or letting deadlines slip, because they don't have the workforce to fill them all. Or, they can hire another quarter million full time employees. I'm sure there is space for those quarter million people to live, too.

Re:July 2013 = 487 days (1 year, 4 months) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39518561)

I'm sure there is space for those quarter million people to live, too.

Absolutely! Home Sweet Cave [slashdot.org]

Evil is as evil does... (-1, Troll)

Namlak (850746) | about 2 years ago | (#39517715)

So while Apple holds a meeting to try to decide what to do with too much money, it's clear that they've been overcharging their customers and abusing their vendors who in turn abuse their workers. Why do we like Apple so much and don't put them into the "Big Evil Corporation" bag as is so popular these days? Are they any better than perennial punching-bag Exxon-Mobil?

And if they can get away with charging what they do for their products, couldn't they afford to "onshore" some of the manufacturing to the US? Or are they using China to get away with environmental regulations... oops, another check in the "evil" column, maybe?

Re:Evil is as evil does... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517781)

How is apple overcharging their customers? They sell their products for a certain price and customers choose to buy it over similar competing products. Apple's gross margin last quarter was 44%, Samsung's was 32%, so yeah, apple charges a larger premium, but if the customer is willing to pay that price Apple can and should charge as much as they want.

Re:Evil is as evil does... (2, Insightful)

jo_ham (604554) | about 2 years ago | (#39517903)

I see you don't understand the nuance of the supply chain. The reason that iPhones and so on (and other devices like Xboxes, HP computers, Playstations, Android phones and other things made in that same factory as the iPhone) are not made in the US isn't really a wage issue, it's a worker numbers issue, as well as a logistics problem. All the pieces that make a product are made nearby (or a great many of them are), so moving the assembly to the other side of the world creates huge issues unless there is a very specific reason that makes it economically viable (like in Brazil, where enormous import taxes have made it favourable to build an assembly line inside the country). There are some instances where a component is made in a different place and then shipped (for example, Samsung's Texas facility that is making ARM chips for Apple), but generally minimising the need to ship components around *really* cuts the cost of assembly (far more than the cost of paying hypothetical US factory worker wages, of which there aren't nearly enough to staff an operation of that size anyway).

They use China because it is cost effective to do so - they have a strong manufacturing base, a large and upwardly-mobile workforce (since they are going through their industrial revolution right now), a growing middle class and a solid infrastructure. The claim that they're using China to dodge environmental regulations is laughable - one of the first companies to limit the amount of expanded polystyrene used, the use of low-lead solder, the removal of PVC from cabling and plastics... and all this before Greenpeace "shamed them" into "making changes" (ie, just telling people what they were doing).

Putting Apple in the "Big Evil Corporation" list over something like this is just enormously naive. Globalisation is not going away, nor are Apple the only ones doing it (nor are they the "worst offenders" by an extremely long distance). This doesn't give them a free pass - they need to demand better conditions and so on (and they are doing so), but the world is not the black and white super simple "everyone is either a Jedi or a Sith" Star Wars fantasy.

Re:Evil is as evil does... (1)

Namlak (850746) | about 2 years ago | (#39518237)

Sure, I understand the supply chain.... but how did it get like this? It's not like China had all these empty factories already built and all these organizations created and staffed hoping for someone to come along and the US had nothing in place. Cheap labor and relaxed environmental rules attracted the entire manufacturing ecosystem there. If we hadn't dismantled our manufacturing ecosystem by essentially transplanting it to China, we'd have all those capabilities, too. I think there is enough people needing work in the US that Apple could have sacrificed a certain amount of profit to be a better US citizen and establish it's own manufacturing ecosystem here. It would help me decide to purchase their products, leading to.....

I also understand the concept of Demand - I don't like the way they're doing business so I don't buy their products. Sure, almost the entire consumer electronics world uses Foxconn and similar companies but when Apple is literally overflowing with money, I think they could have "Thought different" about what to do with it. I'm using this knowledge by affecting the part of this that I can - the Demand part.

And since I have been modded Troll, I'll add that I didn't say that *I* thought they should be treated as an Evil Corporation (regardless of what I think), I'm curious as to the reasons why the public at large (and the media) isn't. Likely, it's Shiny Trinkets Syndrome.

Re:Evil is as evil does... (1)

Kenja (541830) | about 2 years ago | (#39518369)

There is also the issue of trade tarifs. China has them, we dont. So if a company (say Apple) wants to see in China, it is very expensive to do so if their goods are not made there. On the flip side, it is far cheaper to sell goods in the US that are made in China.

Re:Evil is as evil does... (1)

deathguppie (768263) | about 2 years ago | (#39518649)

It's easy to understand that people like you were not around at the beggining of this century in the US. When people worked 6 10hour days a week for minimal wages. It wasn't modernization that stopped the practice. It was people on the streets demanding it. Unions and a lot of violence and heartace.
People in China don't have that option. Unions are illegal, and there is no recourse for poor working conditions. There is no reason to believe in fact that things will ever change over there, or that we will ever be able to compete with the near slave labor conditions in their factories.
Your assertion as to why manufacturing phones in China is more cost effective, is baseless and speculative at best. The Chinese workers are not going to be able to stand up for themselves legally and anyone with half a brain knows it.
On a side note I can't help but notice that this thread has been carpeted with one sided moderation on the issue. Makes me wonder...

Re:Evil is as evil does... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39518495)

That would be illegal. You can not on-shore such a labor-intensive production line while remaining loyal to your shareholders (which you have to do by law). If Tim Cook and Co. on-shored the production of Apple devices, and spiked costs, they would certainly have legal troubles since the board of directors would have to SUE them for not acting in the best interest of the shareholders.

This situation is the result of two phenomenons: globalization through trade agreements and laws governing the practices of public corporate management (profit seeking by law).

Apple is doing exactly what apple should be doing:

1. Answer pressure from the media about their operations, and make sure their suppliers are also answering pressure to fall back into compliance.

2. Hiring the FLA to make sure their suppliers are in compliance with the local laws and regulations set forth by the governments in those localities.

3. Seeking the lowest cost of operation to fulfill its goals.

If we want to cry out about the treatment of the workers at HHPC:

1. Write to your congressmen regarding the trade agreements that are signed and ask that your country enter into agreements that meet your requirements from a labor standpoint (and be prepared to pay the increase costs of the products that are now sub-optimally built from a cost standpoint).

2. Stop buying the products made in those places (I understand most are not willing to go without the newest HHPC-manufactured good).

3. Ask yourself what happens to 500,000 workers who now lost the job that earned them the ability to eat (hint: look into the economics of Africa and the problems they have).

Its so funny how much these "hipsters" blame corporations and paint them as evil... when in fact they are doing exactly what they should be doing. By law they must seek the most profit within the bounds of other laws.

 

fuck trinkets (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39517829)

nonsense, this is the most imhumane thing, jewish people wearing white earbuds, fashion show, hamptons, tori spelling, fucking makes me vomit. it's cool you know, slave labor.

it always happens (4, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | about 2 years ago | (#39518037)

Will the public ever sour on Apple devices in light of the constant media attention on supplier working conditions?

You mean, kind of like how in the 90s, people stopped buying from a company with a certain swoosh [wikipedia.org] on their shoes?

Oh wait, that didn't happen, and Nike's dividend has grown from $0.03 to $0.30. That, despite having relatively well organized protest groups [teamsweat.org], including groups at over 40 universities. Protests and media attention aren't going to do much. There is zero financial motivation for Apple to make more than a token, symbolic move to improve working conditions. That is enough to appease the minds of their customers. Anything else they do is bonus.

Half the households in America own Apple products (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 2 years ago | (#39518139)

I love showing articles like this to those liberals.

Re:Half the households in America own Apple produc (1)

guspasho (941623) | about 2 years ago | (#39518715)

I don't think those articles show what you think they show. Either that or you think liberalism is based around the idea that people hate Apple products.

a material world (1)

msheekhah (903443) | about 2 years ago | (#39518163)

we live in a world where the west's material goods are supplied by slave labor, figuratively speaking of course, and many times, those jobs are the best ones around. this says a lot about the countries that we get our material goods from.

Oh fucking Christ Part 2 (4, Insightful)

gnasher719 (869701) | about 2 years ago | (#39518171)

I wonder which company asked FLA to perform an independent audit at Foxconn. That wouldn't be Apple. That couldn't possibly be Apple. Guess what: It was Apple.

Interesting choice of words, "overtime criminality". So people are working 60 hours a week and get paid for overtime. So what are things like in IT in the USA? I hear there are people working 60 hours a week as well, and not getting paid for overtime. In the games industry, there are people working 80 hours. In the medical profession, 80 hours seems to be the average in the USA (at least according to Wikipedia).

Queue the angry mobs (1)

Xacid (560407) | about 2 years ago | (#39518239)

Queue the angry mobs of workings who actually want to work those incredible hours. They can't get the wages we do but they can certainly work much more than us and are often willing to.

Foxconn is a decent employer by Chinese standards (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39518301)

I'm a foreigner in China and I can tell you people here routinely work long hours and live in cramped dorms.

Peasants have always had it rough and conditions for the many who come to cities to find work are generally not much better. A construction site here typically has barracks/dorms for the workers. It is not at all unusual for the companies to cheat or delay on their pay. Here's one story (from a Party newspaper, take with salt) about that: http://english.people.com.cn/90882/7707122.html

I had Chinese girlfriend who worked as a waitress; she thought she had a good job. Come in around 10 am, work until 2, nap or go shopping unitil 4:30, work until about 11. If some customers wanted to stay later, a few waitresses would too. Two days "off" a month, meaning come in at 4:30 instead of in the morning. Sleep in bunk beds in an apartment the boss rented near the restaurant.

There are long queues for Foxconn jobs: http://micgadget.com/21420/thousands-line-up-for-foxconns-jobs-in-zhengzhou/

OP: Try to look a more than one source (4, Informative)

PNutts (199112) | about 2 years ago | (#39518451)

Spin can go a lot of different ways. [myway.com]

From the article:

The FLA found few safety violations, noting that the company had already dealt with problems like blocked fire exits and defective protective gear.

The FLA found that many workers at the Foxconn factories want to work even more overtime, so they can make more money. Foxconn told the FLA that it will raise hourly salaries to compensate workers for the reduced hours.

Heerden said that it's common to find workers in developing countries looking for more overtime, rather than less.

"They're often single, they're young, and there's not much to do, so frankly they'd just rather work and save," he said.
The auditors examined one years' worth of payroll and time records at each factory, conducted interviews with some workers and had 35,000 of them fill out anonymous surveys.

Apple has started tracking the working hours of half a million workers in its supply chain, and said that 89 percent of them worked 60 hours or less in February, even though the company was ramping up production of the new iPad. Workers averaged 48 hours per week.

"overtime criminality" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39518483)

I had to laugh. I'm sure there are a lot of doctors right here in America who wouldn't mind working only 60 hours a week.

Workers upset over overtime (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39518591)

Recent interviews with workers in Apple manufacturing areas of Foxconn showed the chief complant to be overtime. That is not getting enough! workers on Apple lines do not get overtime but complain that if they worked for nearby competitors they could work all the overtime they want.

The real idiocy is i know plenty of people in the US working hours that would be illegal in China. Some of them working in government, It's also interesting to note that critics have complained that Chinese laws only require them to give 0ne 5 minute break ever 2 hours. You do realize that nowhere in the US are employers required to give any breaks other than meal breaks.

The fact is the Chinese have better labor laws than the US.

Less support? Doubtful. (1)

bryan1945 (301828) | about 2 years ago | (#39518933)

"Will the public ever sour on Apple devices in light of the constant media attention on supplier working conditions?""
Do people still by Nike products?

"overtime criminality" (1)

wzinc (612701) | about 2 years ago | (#39519083)

I wonder how many iPhones Apple sold in the time it took the writer to come-up with that phrase...
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...