Apple to Help Foxconn Upgrade its Factory
Apple got into trouble earlier this year after Foxconn, one of their main suppliers, was found to be employing dubious employee practices at its main factory, causing some to call for a code of ethics to be employed similar to that used by the likes of Nike.
While that has yet to happen, news today that Apple will be investing substantially in improving facilities at the Foxconn factories will be welcomed by employee groups.
Reuters reveals that Apple and Foxconn will share the initial costs of improving working conditions at the factories that manufacture many of the top Apple products, including iPhones and iPads.
Foxconn CEO Terry Gou did not specify how much was being invested, but they have been spending large sums to counter the perception that Chinese factories are little more than sweatshops churning out cheap products for Western multinationals.
"We've discovered that this (improving factory conditions) is not a cost. It is a competitive strength," Gou told reporters on Thursday after the ground-breaking ceremony for a new China headquarters in Shanghai.
"I believe Apple sees this as a competitive strength along with us, and so we will split the initial costs."
Foxconn has already raised wages for employees by between 16 and 25%, while in March it agreed with Apple that it would employ more people to prevent the need for mass overtime by existing employees to meet the surges in demand caused by new product launches at Apple.
Foxconn's manufacturing in China will focus on domestic consumers in the country of 1.3 billion people, as well as research and development in technology, sales and services, Gou said.
Over the past two years, there has been a spate of suicides at Foxconn's sprawling plants which make the Apple products as well as gadgets for the likes of Microsoft and Nintendo.