You know that your iPhone was made in China, but do you really know where it came from? Reuters recently looked inside the mainland China factories of Taiwanese electronics giant Foxconn–manufacturer of many of Apple’s best-known devices, including the iPhone. Or just parts of them, since Apple is known for having different parts of a device made in by different companies entirely in order to protect proprietary information.
Journalists found a company as obsessed with secrecy as Apple itself. Which is saying a lot. Think it’s hard to get out of Walmart carrying a large item without showing a receipt? Try taking pictures of a Foxconn factory.
In China, a Reuters reporter found out the hard way how seriously some Apple suppliers take security.
Tipped by a worker outside the Longhua complex that a nearby Foxconn plant was manufacturing parts for Apple too, our correspondent hopped in a taxi for a visit to the facility in Guanlan, which makes products for a range of companies.
As he stood on the public road taking photos of the front gate and security checkpoint, a guard shouted. The reporter continued snapping photos before jumping into a waiting taxi. The guard blocked the vehicle and ordered the driver to stop, threatening to strip him of his taxi license.
The correspondent got out and insisted he was within his rights as he was on the main road. The guard grabbed his arm. A second guard ran over, and with a crowd of Foxconn workers watching, they tried dragging him into the factory.
The reporter asked to be let go. When that didn’t happen, he jerked himself free and started walking off. The older guard kicked him in the leg, while the second threatened to hit him again if he moved. A few minutes later, a Foxconn security car came along but the reporter refused to board it. He called the police instead.
It’s unlikely that the order to physically assault workers came directly from Apple.
For Apple suppliers, loose lips can sink contracts [Reuters] (via Macrumors – thanks,