Saturday, May 26, 2012

Video offers rare look at Foxconn factory that builds 70 percent of all iPhones

Apple has been notoriously secretive about its manufacturing partners, but with recent reports about the working conditions there, the veil has begun being pulled back somewhat. That said, we have a new video showing a fairly detailed, albeit short, look at an iPhone assembly line.

The video shows a Chinese reporter from iFeng and Foxconn CEO Terry Gou taking a tour of the iPhone production line. The last such video of a Foxconn site was taped by Marketplace reporter Rob Schmitz, but that showed the assembly of an iPad. It was also done shortly after the inspections of Foxconn sites made by the Fair Labor Association (FLA) at Apple's request.

That earlier video was also taken at Foxconn's Shenzhen site, which was made famous in 2010 by way of numerous employee suicides. After those incidents, Foxconn began moving more of its work to locations in central China, which is where this plant is: Zhengzhou, in north-central China.

The plant at Zhengzhou reportedly makes 70 percent of the iPhones that are currently produced.

The video starts as Foxconn CEO Terry Gou takes the reporter on a helicopter ride over the 5.6 square-kilometer factory that already houses 115,000 employees. Despite its already expansive size, Gou says that the area around the factory is reserved for further expansion of the plant. Interestingly, Gou refers to that area as a "wasteland."

The video then moves inside the factory, where Gou shows off the production line dedicated to the iPhone 4S and its display, as well as the section that builds the iPhone 4S motherboard section. That unit produces 10,000 motherboards daily. The video ends as Gou takes the reporter into a clean-room where the iPhone 4S camera is assembled.

iFeng also created a second video report, which includes a few Foxconn employee interviews that are - unsurprisingly - very favorable to the company as well as to the factory facilities. It would actually be unusual to see, at least on camera, any negative statements toward the company would also be viewed negatively by the company and could lead to the employee losing his position.

It's for this reason that it was felt that the FLA interviews of Foxconn workers were also useless, as they were done in groups, and any one of them could be either a "mole" or at the very least, be someone willing to inform on his co-workers to get ahead.

You can watch the videos below.

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