Sunday, December 30, 2012

iDevice demand forces some of Apple's partners to work through the Chinese New Year holiday

Many companies with divisions or outsourced work in China expect a long work stoppage during the Chinese New Year holiday. A report emerged on Friday saying that Apple isn't going to concern itself with that issue in 2013.

Don't think it's just Foxconn, Apple's biggest manufacturing partner, though. The report, originally from the Taiwanese news site United Daily News, said that some of Apple's supply chain partners will continue working through the Chinese New Year holiday because of huge demand for the iPad mini and iPhone 5.

The holiday falls in mid-February in 2013, beginning on Feb. 10, and most workers traditionally return to their homes for two weeks -- or more -- of celebration.  This is the year of the snake, and we'd anticipate that some Chinese workers might be thinking their bosses are snakes, too.

As you would expect Foxconn is one of those affected by the work non-stoppage, with the company, a division of Hon Hai, said to be keeping at least some of its production lines open to keep building iPhone 5s and iPad minis.

Flexium Interconnect, an Apple circuit board supplier, will reportedly keep its Kunshan ( located in the southeastern part of Jiangsu Province, China) plant open through the Chinese New Year. However, the report says the company will be using student interns.

That statement about Flexium is somewhat alarming: A recent report on changes in Chinese manufacturing facilities since the New York Times expose in January of last year showed few improvements.

One of the issues highlighted was student employees claimed school administrators forced them to work at Foxconn, where they are paid less than full-time employees, by telling them they would lose their diplomas if they failed to take a job.

While that report was focused on Foxconn, it wouldn't be surprising if other companies are the recipient of such forced employment.

It is unclear how many workers may be losing access to one of the biggest holidays of the Chinese year as a result of iDevices. It does show one thing, though: Corporatism is burgeoning in China.

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