As Apple becomes more and more transparent with its 3rd party suppliers and manufacturing process (one of a handful) we are beginning to understand how Apple makes its legendary products. Marketplace’s Rob Schmitz recently visited a Foxconn factory that was making iPads for Apple and posted the below video showing the assembly process for Cupertino’s tablet but Schmitz’s article was mostly about the people behind the manufacturing.
…He (Rob Schmitz) didn’t meet anybody who was poisoned on the job. He didn’t meet any 13-year-old workers. Nobody he talked to had been hurt in an explosion. He says the stories he heard were more about China than Apple….
Most of the workers at Foxconn are rural youth, which have left the countryside’s poverty for a better chance at life – for them and their extended families. Many of the workers repeatedly stated that most of the money they earn at Foxconn, is sent back home – to help with food, sick relatives and education.
Zhang: The money you make working at a factory will help the next generation. It’ll help children get a better education. Most poor families can’t afford medical care. The only option when you get really sick is to wait and die. But if you make money here and send it home, it can make all the difference…
Yet, some parents of Foxconn workers don’t necessarily see the advantage of their children working in China’s factory cities. They complain that money made is not necessarily money saved and that the costs associated with city life offset any advantage of working there.
Zheng Shuinu: To be honest, the money he sends home isn’t very much. He spends so much on living expenses in that big city he lives in. Most of the money for fixing our home came from our savings, not his….
From reading Schmitz’s article, I didn’t get a feeling of abuse and corporate slavery – I got the feeling of hardship and struggle for a better life. I got the feeling that for all of China’s growth in the last 20 years, little has been seen by rural China. I got the feeling of generations of young people working hard for a better tomorrow, for themselves and their children. I got a feeling that is reminiscent of the struggle and growth in America 60 years ago. Please take the time and ready Rob Schmitz’s article over at Marketplace.