iPod Factory Admits Breaking Chinese Labor Laws

As you can easily imagine, breaking labor laws in China is a bit hard to do as an employer. However, Foxconn managed to do just that by forcing the workers in the Apple iPod factories to work up to 80 extra hours per month. Under local law, laborers can only be forced to work 36 extra hours.

Pictured at right is a typical Chinese iPod laborer. Note the fingers bloodied from countless hours of sewing together white mp3 players in subhuman conditions.

ChinaCSR reports:

    “However, Li Zong, a spokesperson from Foxconn, says Foxconn’s complicated salary structure has caused misunderstanding among the media, and the company has paid the workers according to the minimum salary standards of the Shenzhen local government.”

Well that’s great, as long as they’re paying the absolute minimum wage required.

Unverified reports claim that if you turn up your iPod up really loud, you can hear the screams of the innocent in the background.

“Foxconn Admits Breaking Labor Laws In China” [ChinaCSR]

Foxconn Denies iPod Sweatshop Details
Apple Does Not Respond to “Mass’ah”
iPod Cities: Massive Chinese iPod Sweatshops


Edit Your Comment

  1. SecureLocation says:

    Apple has been skating on their image, mostly sold to us via hip advertising. They are as greedy–maybe more so–as most companies. Their products are cheaply made and break often. They don’t come with the basic accessories that comparable brands do. I’ve never understood the Apple cult. Their products are for lemmings and suckers.

  2. mark duffy says:

    Most of the songs on my iPod have lots of screaming anyways.

  3. Madrid says:

    Hey SecureLocation, got any evidence?

    The anti-mac zealots around here are just as bad as the pro-mac zealots.

    In the interest of full disclosure, I am a mac/windows user that prefers only unix/linux hosting environments. I think Windows has it’s share of problems, while Mac is (for me) a better environment.

    The claim that Mac products are cheaply made and break often is hogwash, and I challenge the assertion. Provide proof, rather than some anti-mac screed, and maybe I’ll pay more attention to your claims.

  4. scurvyman says:


    If you’re looking for proof of cheaply made Apple products, you might refer to this very post, which is about a certain Apple product produced under such miserable labor conditions that they aren’t even legal in China.

    If you’re looking for proof of Apple products breaking often, have you ever talked to one of the millions of owners of iPods whose batteries have gradually deteriorated to the point of uselessness? Alternatively, you could check out http://www.appledefects.com/wiki/index.php?title=MacBook_P… for a list of common defects just with the new Macbook Pro. I’d assume there are pages for other Apple products as well, but their server appears to be getting digg-hammered.

    So will you pay more attention to SecureLocation’s claims now? Or was that an empty threat?

  5. AcidReign says:

    …..A friend and I both bought our first computers around 1985. He can’t even get parts for his Apple II-E, which has broken many times, and my Commodore 128 still works. Even the monitor and 1541 floppy drive! O. K., I did have to buy a new after-market power supply for the Commode, back around 1988, but still…

  6. ModerateSnark says:

    The main selling point of Apple products is that they are easier to use (though not perfectly easy), more reliable (though not perfectly reliable), and better looking (though not perfectly designed). They mainly have an advantage because their competitors settle for not doing the kind of extra touches that Apple insists on.

    Apple seems more driven to frequently upgrade and improve its products. Of course that has its downside too, since things seem obsolete more quickly.

    I am optimistic that they will even improve working conditions in China, but I don’t think Apple is great in every way. For example, Apple has had a huge impact in making DRM acceptable to the masses, when it should be seen as a technology-crippling abomination.

  7. Madrid says:

    “So will you pay more attention to SecureLocation’s claims now? Or was that an empty threat?”

    What threat are you talking about? Sounds to me like rhetoric meant to demonize me and shut down my position. “Paying attention” is hardly a threat in anyone’s book. I’m not really sure what you mean by this, but it certainly sounds powerful and intimidating. Maybe you’re just trying to shout over me…

    By proof, I meant numbers, not just the few reported, and might I add, isolated issues related to the MPB. I think we’d find that for the number shipped, the percentage is probably a lot smaller than you’re hoping for. Also, while we’re at it, let’s compare other manufacturers quality and see what the average is. Since Apple is in a high-profile position, the issues consumers have with their products are obviously going to come under greater scrutiny. As for the manufacturing problems in China, the same applies. I’m sure you don’t give it a second thought whenever you purchase products from Target, Wal-Mart, etc.

    As for the iPod battery issues, I ask you the same question: have you talked to one of the millions of ipod owners who;ve had battery issues? I know lots of ipod owners, but I have yet to have one with battery issues. And if you know one, or are one (especially if you are one) then you either owe me evidence, or you need to admit to being on the anti-mac bandwagon.

    Of course, I could always accuse you of being a shill for Microsoft because that sounds more like a sensational, scandalous claim, but then that’s like playing on your level, and I don’t think I’ll go there…


  8. scurvyman says:

    Hah, I’m hardly a “Microsoft shill.” However, I was indeed trying to shout, because that’s the only way to express any less-than-shining opinion about any Apple product on the Internet over the cries of “Mac hater!” or “you’re on the anti-Mac bandwagon” (that’s the one you seem to prefer).

    Don’t get me wrong. I love OSX, from my experience with it, and the next computer I buy will be an Intel-powered MacBook — once they have some more of the issues sorted out.

    I don’t know how you want me to provide evidence of my friendships with iPod owners, but perhaps you can take me at my word. My girlfriend just purchased a Nano last week, to replace the green Mini she had for about 18 months before the battery life had diminished to approximately 10 minutes per charge, which eventually dwindled down to zero. One of my coworkers is in not quite as extreme of a situation, but nevertheless he only gets about 2 hours’ worth of play from his 13-month old 60-gig iPod. Worst of all was my roommate three years ago, who had three iPods die on him within one school year, each time requiring that he drive an hour and a half to the Charlotte Apple store, then drive an hour and a half back and replace his entire music collection. With the huge amounts of press the iPod battery issue got online and even in mainstream papers, and the enormous number of people complaining about them, I am astounded you haven’t encountered one.

    As for the rate of defects per units shipped, I don’t have any numbers. However, Apple seems to think that the MacBook Pro overheating issue is universal enough to tell people it’s not a laptop, it’s a notebook, and notebooks are not intended to be used on your lap. They’ve also made sure to remove images of someone using one in their lap from all websites, ads, etc. Do you think they’d make such an effort for a product if the chances of it melting one’s genitalia were statistically insignificant?

    If you want to “play on my level,” stop trying to discredit my position by dismissing my claims with no evidence other than “I bet the percentage is small” and “I don’t personally know anyone that’s happened to,” and stop equating criticism of the build quality of certain products with uninformed hatred of their manufacturer. You asked for evidence, and I’ve provided anecdotal evidence in abundance. If there are some magic statistics out there that prove that these problems are incident in a tiny percentage of a manufacturing run, I feel like the burden is on you, rather than me, to find them.

  9. Ben says:

    Wait, back up a sec: China has labor laws?