Foxconn workers live in ‘prison cells’ while making iPhone 5!

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The iPhone 5 is here! It’s lighter, thinner and more powerful, but it isn’t all that spectacular or magical unless of course you consider the price tag of the base model! The new iPhone 5 will sell for a cool $720 in Hong Kong which happens to be significantly more than the amount of money Foxconn invests in taking care of its staff for a year!

While Apple announced all the ‘great’ new features of the lighter, thiner iPhone 5, Chinese workers at Foxconn factories in Shenzhen South China were/are toiling away in poor conditions to get the latest Apple phones in the the pocket of fans across the world!

Foxconn worker wages and living conditions have hit the headlines all to often over the past year. Thankfully the Chinese government have taken an interest and are rolling out a pay increase for all Shenzhen electronics workers, great news! But what is being done about the working and living conditions for staff at iPhone 5 factories?

This past week an undercover reporter for a Chinese newspaper gained access to the high security, highly secretive Foxconn factory where the iPhone 5 is being produced. While there the report witnessed first hand the poor living conditions and managed to take a few photos.

steel beds for foxconn iphone 5 workers

Dormitory rooms at Foxconn’s iPhone 5 factory sleep as many as 12 people on cold steel beds in what can only be described as large prison cells with concrete floors!

foxconn iphone 5 worker conditions

They have even placed bars on the windows to complete the ‘prison cell’ theme going!

It is estimated that the cost of housing 12 Foxconn staff who manufacture the iPhone 5 could be as little as $1000 per year, which is roughly the same price as a 32GB iPhone 5 once it launches in Hong Kong and mainland China!

So before heading out to the Apple store on the iPhone 5 launch day, 21st September, to pick up your new Apple iPhone 5, spare a thought for the hundreds of Chinese workers huddled together on their steel beds and working for peanuts who made it all happen!

Image source

  • Randy Fabros

    Not a good publicity for Apple.

  • farookb4u


  • ThinkOutsideTheBox

    This is sad, are they not allowed to leave? I’ll remember this, another reason why I’m buying a clone phone, I’ll never buy an apple product. Android FTW, i’ll even go with Windows phone 8 before Apple, and those phones look amazing from what i’ve seen online.

    • Andi

      @ThinkOutsideTheBox The Foxconn factories are pretty self sufficient i.e they have stores and restaurants etc so that the workers don’t need to leave. The idea is to keep them there as much as they can so no one is able to spill any Apple secrets. Actually Sony and Dell manufacture and Foxconn too!

  • joseqin

    Apple is a sect just for snobs

  • Geodex

    How the hell does no one talk about this on the networks such as cnn, bbc, aljazera etc?

    Is apple having some underhand tactics with the people and agencies that matter in the world?

    This is messed up

  • Randy Fabros

    Because there was so much hype about How “great” the new Iphone is going to be and forgot about the people who make it and plus big corporations have the money to cover up this filth….. Thank you for those independent journalist who had the balls to do a story like this….

  • Charlie

    This is unbalanced journalism.

    1) The Foxconn living quarters are standard fare in manufacturing companies in China. For the people living here, these conditions do not necessarily reflect poor living conditions vis-a-vis also the sacrifice needed to earn a living. You can’t compare these quarters with first world dorm conditions where standards and expectations are probably different.
    2) The picture of the bars on the balconies are deceptive and are being used to support the “prison” spin of this article. The person does not know the history of suicides by jumping on the ledges in Foxcon in the recent past. But these were not caused by overworked or despair but a more complex reason and benefit loophole where people who die on the job get an unusual golden handshake benefit for their families, and some persons took the plunge for their families to benefit. call it sick but you have to understand the mind of some poor workers who come here to work.
    3) I think many of these issues are currently being resolved by Foxconn management with the help of Apple and its high end customers such as Dell, etc.
    4) Perpetuating this kind of journalism is more often than not motivated by other reasons, possibly from competitors, ignorance, biased reporting etc.

    these are my two cents worth being a foreigner now based in china

  • Freeje

    @Charlie. So it’s ok to buy a phone knowing that it was produced by slave labor? Take a look at this -

    Ok, maybe it’s not only Apple but other companies too but heck I like bashing Crapple.

  • andres

    this type of news are traveling time ago, owners of Apple products are still contributing to this acts to treat people like slave, yes sir, you are guilty too!

  • Anywho

    I’m not you all understand how the markets work. Without the jobs apple give them, they’d have nothing. People are working because they chose too. They could go work for someone else than Apple. I don’t like Apple, but this is voluntary by those workers.

  • Anywho

    As a bonus, here’s a video explaining minimum wage:

  • andres

    “because they chose too”???… They chose that becuse the need it! “Anywho”, where do you live? did you feel the need of work once in your life? people without work will be desperate to get one, and APPLE and FOXCONN take this advantage of the situation.

  • Xatix

    @All Apple Haters

    I think it is sad, that you are bashing Apple, because Foxconn is also the main producer of hundreds of company’s electronics, like HP, Amazon, Samsung, Toshiba (Yes, your glory Galaxy S III & yourKindle Fire is produced there too).

    No one cares about that, except, when it is about apple. Hypocrites!

  • Xatix

    And btw, at least apple tried to make the situation better in the last years, unlike other companies.

  • andres

    Xatix, “apple tried to make the situation better”, yes why? because the news was on TVs and Internet.
    why all the world is talking about it and not about HP, Samsung, etc? because Apple is one of the best client of Foxconn :)
    also I don’t hate Apple, I don’t have one because is really expensive in my country, only to high end society can buy it(any APPLE product is priced more than a common salary)
    then, I prefer cheaps and excellent android chinese phones! :)

  • ThinkOutsideTheBox

    @Xatix, it’s true that other companies have their products made by Foxconn, but it seems like news about the employees only comes out when a new Apple product is being made. I personally believe that they go through more “stress” when it comes to Apple products, just look at how they made the University students help with production instead of attending to their school work.

  • popo

    Every commenter above is guilty of naive cluelessness.

    This is how just about EVERY factory in China looks. Don’t blame the iPhone. Your computer mouse, monitor, keyboard..your socks, shoes, shirts, etc. were all made by workers in similar conditions — or considerably *worse*.

    And here’s the thing: Contrary to this naive story — most workers LOOK for jobs like that because it beats the *sh*t* out of working in a rice paddy or mine shaft.

    So many naive first-worlders here. And no, buying an Android phone doesn’t mean you’re supporting a factory where things are different.

  • Randy Fabros

    Some people are getting very touchy :D…… :P…..
    No matter how much you guys argue…..reason being Apple is getting bashed is because of their win against Samsung over something petty design. Over the years in mobile technology we have seen similar designed phones and adding something more to what others have, it’s what we call competition and by competition we see ADVANCEMENTS. Apple shouldn’t be showing off their big win like a kid “I’ve got an ice cream and you ain’t got one”. Apple buy parts from Samsung and other suppliers if they don’t would Iphone really exist????? The advancements we’re already there with Intel’s innovation of ARM achitecture way before Apple decided to have their own.

  • Juliana

    And some people say: Don’t buy cheap chinese phones!! They enslave their employees.

    Ok Apple…ok.

  • Ronnie Katsie

    just buy what you can afford if you can afford jiayu g3 then don’t get bothered with iPhone as its price buys 5 of them. To me very expensive phones is not doing for me but others do so that’s the world some work in good conditions and can afford iPhone 5 while others cant………………………………….

  • spelling police

    Foxconn worker wages and living conditions have hit the headlines all to often over the past year.

    You should spell check next time.