New Book: Life & death in Apple’s forbidden city
Author: Brian Merchant, Guardian [UK], Published on: 21 June 2017
"The One Device: The Secret History of the iPhone"
... It’s printed on the back of every iPhone: “Designed by Apple in California Assembled in China.” US law dictates that products manufactured in China must be labelled as such, and Apple’s inclusion of the phrase renders the statement uniquely illustrative of one of the planet’s starkest economic divides – the cutting edge is conceived and designed in Silicon Valley, but it is assembled by hand in China... where low labour costs and a massive, highly skilled workforce have made the nation the ideal place to manufacture iPhones... Foxconn is the single largest employer in mainland China; there are 1.3 million people on its payroll. Worldwide, among corporations, only Walmart and McDonald’s employ more... If you know of Foxconn, there’s a good chance it’s because you’ve heard of the suicides. In 2010, Longhua assembly-line workers began killing themselves...in tragic displays of desperation – and in protest at the work conditions inside. There were 18 reported suicide attempts that year alone and 14 confirmed deaths... The epidemic caused a media sensation – suicides and sweatshop conditions in the House of iPhone.
[Foxconn] might be the best-known factory in the world; it might also be among the most secretive and sealed-off. [However,] over several visits to different iPhone assembly factories in Shenzhen and Shanghai, [Brain Merchent] interviewed dozens of workers. [He has detailed his findings in his recently published The One Device: The Secret History of the iPhone.]