In China, human costs are built into iPads and tens of thousands of other non-Apple products

“In the last decade, Apple has become one of the mightiest, richest and most successful companies in the world, in part by mastering global manufacturing. Apple and its high-technology peers — as well as dozens of other American industries — have achieved a pace of innovation nearly unmatched in modern history,” Charles Duhigg and David Barboza report for The New York Times. “However, the workers assembling iPhones, iPads and other devices often labor in harsh conditions, according to employees inside those plants, worker advocates and documents published by companies themselves. Problems are as varied as onerous work environments and serious — sometimes deadly — safety problems.”

“Employees work excessive overtime, in some cases seven days a week, and live in crowded dorms. Some say they stand so long that their legs swell until they can hardly walk. Under-age workers have helped build Apple’s products, and the company’s suppliers have improperly disposed of hazardous waste and falsified records, according to company reports and advocacy groups that, within China, are often considered reliable, independent monitors,” Duhigg and Barboza report. “More troubling, the groups say, is some suppliers’ disregard for workers’ health. Two years ago, 137 workers at an Apple supplier in eastern China were injured after they were ordered to use a poisonous chemical to clean iPhone screens. Within seven months last year, two explosions at iPad factories, including in Chengdu, killed four people and injured 77. Before those blasts, Apple had been alerted to hazardous conditions inside the Chengdu plant, according to a Chinese group that published that warning.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: In the the full article, “Apple” was deployed 105 times (105 times!), “iPad” 12 times, “iPhone” nine times, and “iPod” once. That’s 139 Apple-related mentions in an article detailing conditions at Chinese, not Apple, companies that, oh by the way, also happen to assemble products for Dell, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Lenovo, Motorola, Nokia, Sony, Toshiba and many, many, many other companies around the world. No, one short paragraph mentioning other companies by name once, doesn’t provide “balance.”

Singling out Apple and glossing over every other company doesn’t make you smart hit-whores, guys. It makes you slanted, biased, yellow journalists. But, of course, you do work for The New York Times, so that was to be expected.

The next time you transparent fools wonder why your circulation and employee numbers continue to plummet, just re-read this Take.

Apple insists that all of their suppliers provide safe working conditions, treat workers with dignity and respect, and use environmentally responsible manufacturing processes. Apple’s actions, from thorough site audits to industry-leading training programs, demonstrate this commitment.

Read more about supplier responsibility at Apple here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “The Scarbro” for the heads up.]


  1. I have sympathy with the Chinese workers who are being treated poorly. We had a similar problem in the US in the late 1800’s in our meat packing industry (Read Upton Sinclair’s Classic “The Jungle”). But eventually the workers rebelled, unionized, and drastically changed their situation.

    That’s what has to happen in China and other countries that have these labor abuses: its up to their own people to change things from within.

    1. Big difference? Those companies didn’t have a choice. There wasn’t an infinitely deep pool to pull from, and you lost money retraining. China has lots of folks ready to take those jobs because most of them are unskilled labor.

      So, similar situation, but the resource dynamic is way too different.

  2. Setting aside the BS from the NY Times and the BS from FuxNews loving MDN:

    The obvious common denominator here is not Apple or any of the other sourcing companies, It is:

    1) CHINA: A criminal nation. Obviously the citizens of China are going to be treated as units only good as the money they can make the criminal government. Therefore, the citizens themselves are inspired to become criminals if only to retaliate against their own diseased government.

    APPLE: GET THE HELL OUT OF CHINA ALREADY, DAMMIT! Willful sucking up to crime only makes you criminal as well.

    2) The Slave Wage Labor Movement: Of course those who are paid less-than subsistence wages are treated as stupid little peon units that can either put up and shut up or go die somewhere. This phenomenon is both history wide and world wide. The fact that it has become nearly universal once again heralds in the arrival of our next DARK AGE. If you think the 1% are screwing you over now, you haven’t seen anything yet.

    Go study the last DARK AGE if you want to get scared.

    1. Apple could be out of China tomorrow, all they’d have to do is stop making products. Easy!

      ‘course they’d cease to exist as a company, but at least Apple would no longer be tied to Foxconn.

  3. If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a thousand times.

    WTF does this have to do with apple? It’s the 3rd party sub contractors that have the plants and staff in china, brazil etc.

    Go bug the hell out of Foxconn and samsung to move THEIR plants to the USA.

    And come on every one knows “Made in the USA” means its overpriced crap that isn’t right from day 1 and will be completely useless within 3 days. The rest of the world would expect any product carrying that stamp to be a quarter of the quality and twice the price.

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