Wednesday, June 14, 2006


It's not entirely surprising - the competitive price, the "Made In China" label - but the Mail On Sunday has visited iPod city, the place where Apple's music players are made, and come away unimpressed.

And for the Mail to be complaining about worker's conditions, you know it has to be bad.

The report claims Longhua's workers live in dormitories that house 100 people, and that visitors from the outside world are not permitted. Workers toil for 15-hours a day to make the iconic music player, the report claims. They earn £27 per month. The report reveals that the iPod nano is made in a five-storey factory (E3) that is secured by police officers.

Another factory in Suzhou, Shanghai, makes iPod shuffles. The workers are housed outside the plant, and earn £54 per month - but they must pay for their accommodation and food, "which takes up half their salaries", the report observes.

A security guard told the Mail reporters that the iPod shuffle production lines are staffed by women workers because "they are more honest than male workers".

No wonder Apple felt so comfortable cutting a deal to make jogger's iPods with Nike.

[Thanks to Karl T]


Anonymous said...

Most interesting. I'm currently working on a translation of a case study of the Apple business model, and this is certainly the stinking underbelly.

Inkidinkily, did you know that it's more expensive to buy music from iTunes Japan than from iTunes US? One track costs 150 yen (about $1.30). How on earth do they justify this?

Eleanor G

CarsmileSteve said...

ha, the japanese have it good then! current UK pricing is 79p per track which my local friendly currency exchange site tells me is USD1.45

ChinaLawBlog said...

Apple is actually paying wages quite a bit lower than those I am used to seeing for such workers. I understand, however, that Apple does not hire its workers directly; it uses a Taiwan company for its China manufacturing. I am surprised Apple is doing this due to the potentially very bad publicity.

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