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ABC Nightline Visits Foxconn To See How Apple Devices Are Made (Video)



In the past few weeks Apple has come under a lot of scrutiny over its contract with Foxconn and the plant’s safety.

Apple has since joined the Fair Labor Association which it paid to do an audit on the factory. In addition to the audit, Apple invited Bill Weir of ABC’s Nightline to visit the Chinese factory and see just how iPads, iPhones, MacBook Pros and just about all other Apple devices are made.

Foxconn, of course, doesn’t just work for Apple. The factory-city also manufactures devices for Microsoft, Sony, Amazon, and Motorola among many others. If your device was made in China, there’s a very good chance it was made in Foxconn. The focus of Nightline, however, is on Apple.

You can get a sneak peak at the Nightline report in the video below, which takes you inside Foxconn to see how the iPad, iPhone and MacBook Air are made.

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On Tuesday, February 21, at 11:35 p.m. ET/PT ABC Nightline will give us a tour of Foxconn, or at least the Apple production lines and the dorms. We’ll get to see just how the factory workers put together the iPad and MacBooks, and the type of conditions they work in. Or, at least we’ll see the type of conditions Foxconn wants us to see. With the plant knowing about the visit and the Fair Labor Association audit days in advance, it’s easy to think the company created a new, clean space in preparation for the visit.Apple Foxconn China

If you don’t want to wait to hear about the Foxconn visit, ABC has a story online about the visit. Some of it discusses the workers who spend more than ten hours each day doing simple tasks like carving the Apple logo into the back of an iPad or flipping camera sensors with tweezers. There’s talk about labor unions and how they could be more powerful in the plant, with Foxconn executive Louis Woo saying that he sees “hope of labor unions becoming more powerful but it’s not here yet.”

It will be difficult to say how much of the Nightline special is true, and how much is just what Foxconn wants reporters to see. Hopefully the employees will give some insight into the factory, even if the production lines don’t.

We can’t be too sure about the state of the factory until the FLA audit report comes out in March. With its method of anonymous questionnaires given to employees it should hopefully give some better insight. For now we have the Nightline story, which should at least be interesting to watch and is already an interesting read.



  1. Stan Kossen

    02/20/2012 at 2:38 pm

    Although my comment that follows doesn’t justify the abuse of employees, we should keep in mind that the labor at FoxConn is voluntary and most of the workers are making more money per week than they were prior to receiving their jobs making technical (not just Apple) products.

    We tend to impose our standards onto other cultures, and one size doth not fit all. 

    Nor does FoxConn have a monopoly on employee suicides. There have been mild suicide epidemics in advanced western countries, too, in such organizations as giant telephone companies and police departments.

    Yes, I would rather see Apple products made in the U.S., but Steve Jobs already clearly explained why doing so isn’t feasible. Maybe we ought to support our educational and training facilities more than we do. 

    I welcome your hate mail.

    Stan Kossen

    • Leon Hall

      02/21/2012 at 7:33 am

       I submit that Jobs reasoning may be correct but only if one disregards human costs along with our choices as a society. While economic reasoning is a driving force it is our own failings that makes it acceptable. Jobs tells us that it would cost another $65 per iphone if it were made here, that we don’t have the manpower to build it fast enough, and that it’s not Apples job to save America. All of those statements may sadly be true today. I think it’s time we start biting the bullet by passing a federal law making anything we import be built with OSHA standards and our environmental regulations. (Yes, I live in my own little version of the universe.) We already make certain woods illegal based on where they come from and how they are acquired. I suspect it would be seen as protectionism but for who? For workers in other countries? We have an incredible market here, and a hunger for “the next great thing” like a phone or TV, car etc… If it costs more for those things and we have to “make due” and save for those things as our parents did, so be it. Which brings me to the next point. I think a change in our disposable culture should be addressed. Our culture has changed from manufacturing to buying everything from other countries. It’s time to slow and reverse that trend. Most of us don’t know what it was like when Americans saved tin foil for the war effort or gas rationing or dozens of other things we did to get through our days back then. But we have become complacent in that regard after decades of having others make things for us. It was, we thought, a great thing to get those items built cheaper for us. But that has always drained from us as well. It drained money, jobs, and eventually the very heart of what we once were. I don’t hate you Stan. But I do question the validity of our course as a country. BTW Stan, I’ve had my phone for 3 years now and with any luck it will be another 3 years. :-)

  2. Eric Mudasi

    02/22/2012 at 12:14 am

    While minerals from the Congo have enriched lives, they have often brought violence, rape and instability to the Congo. That’s because those armed groups fighting for control of these mineral resources use murder, extortion and mass rape as a deliberate strategy to intimidate and control local populations, which helps them secure control of mines, trading routes and other strategic areas. The child slaves who are forced to work in the mines in dangerous conditions. Apple has to be an industry leader in both supply chain management and making corporate social responsibility a priority. Apple has to take great strides to source minerals responsibly and control their supply chain.

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