A self-confessed Apple fan who went to China to see for himself where his iDevices were manufactured, has painted a shocking picture in an in-depth interview on a popular US radio show.
Thirty years ago the city of Shenzhen was just a little village on a river, but now it is a city with over 13 million people, that is larger than New York or London. This is where a great many iPhones and iPads are made.
Foxconn, a long time Apple partner, has a manufacturing facility in Shenzhen with 430,000 employees. In a damning report by Mike Daisey on weekly US radio program This American Life, we all have the chance to find out some of the hidden truths behind iPhone and iPad production.
Apparently almost 5% of the workers in Foxconn factories from Shenzhen are underage and workers can be paid as little as 70 cent per day.
The reporter managed to chat with a 13 year old girl who worked for the Apple supplier and described the working conditions. She explained that she has many colleagues of her age despite onsite inspections.
However, Foxconn officials always manage to hide the truth from inspectors and replace the teens working in factory with older employees.
The reporter also found out that the Chinese workers, who officially have 8 hour shifts, actually have to work for 12 hours straight or even 14 - 16 hours; and according to local regulations, a working hour has 60 minutes, no breaks allowed.
Most workers have to stand on the assembly lines, watched by cameras and they cannot afford to be sluggish. While Mike Daisey was actually in China, it was reported that one worker had died after a 34-hour shift.
In the past Foxconn and Apple have come in for criticism following a number of reported suicides, as well as accidents, causing the death of employees.
Here is the full transcript of the radio interview on This American Life.