Holiday reading: why the iPhone is built in Shenzhen

Cam MacMurchy , January 26, 2012 10:49am

Between the Spring Festival feasts, visiting flower markets and chowing down on tang yuan, we thought we’d pass an interesting article your way.

The New York Times has recently completed a two-part series on how the US lost out on building the iPhone, some of which are now assembled here in Shenzhen.  The first article goes into detail explaining what Shenzhen can do, and how the US has fallen behind:

An eight-hour drive from that glass factory is a complex, known informally as Foxconn City, where the iPhone is assembled. To Apple executives, Foxconn City was further evidence that China could deliver workers — and diligence — that outpaced their American counterparts.

That’s because nothing like Foxconn City exists in the United States.

The facility has 230,000 employees, many working six days a week, often spending up to 12 hours a day at the plant. Over a quarter of Foxconn’s work force lives in company barracks and many workers earn less than $17 a day. When one Apple executive arrived during a shift change, his car was stuck in a river of employees streaming past. “The scale is unimaginable,” he said.

The entire article is well worth a read.  The second part, which looks at the safety of Foxconn plants in China, is also highly-recommended.