Apple’s Foxconn Problem

Earlier this week I was doing one of my favorite things, talking with my good friend Andy Oudmann on his radio show, London Today, on AM1290 here in London. He had brought me on to talk about a potential issue with Wi-Fi in the classroom, which it a post for another day. Once we finished that discussion, Andy asked if I could stay and talk about something else after a commercial break, which I agreed to. When we got back from commercial, Andy told me he wanted to talk to me about a CTV report that focused on the labour conditions at FOXCONN’s factories in China that were specifically directed at Apple.

Andy and I talked about it, with me trying to stress that you can’t compare working conditions in China to working conditions in North America. It’s a different country and the manner in which they run their factories is significantly different from the way a factory in North America is run. He then asked about a spate of worker suicides in 2010 where 14 people died, he asked me whether I would stop buying Apple products in the wake of those events. My response was: No, it would not cause me to stop buying Apple products. I explained that although it’s incredible unfortunate that these people died, but to say that one should stop purchasing Apple is unfair. FOXCONN is a huge company and they employ a huge amount of people. Yes, they make the iPhone and the iPad, but they also make a huge number of consumer electronic parts and devices that people use all over the world.


The point I was trying to make was that it is unfair to try to make it sound like this is an Apple factory, owned by Apple. It isn’t, it’s a FOXCONN factory… one of many factories they have in six different countries around the world. FOXCONN has the contract to build Apple devices as well as many other devices. So to say that possible labour issues at any FOXCONN factory should be the responsibility of Apple is unfair. Should Apple be encouraging any and all of their factories to have better worker conditions, yes most definitely.

Here is a list of some of the companies that FOXCONN factories manufactures products for:

    • Acer
    • Amazon
    • Apple
    • Cisco
    • Dell
    • Gateway
    • Hewlett-Packard
    • Intel
    • Microsoft
    • Motorola
    • Nintendo
    • Nokia
    • Samsung
    • Sony
    • Sony Ericsson
    • Toshiba
    • Vizio


So if you are going to stop buying Apple products because of working conditions at FOXCONN factories, you better stop using any computer that has an Intel processor. Stop using your Acer, Dell, Gateway, HP, or Sony laptop. Don’t read a book on your Kindle, or call someone on your cell phone. Don’t sit down to play a game on your PlayStation 3, Wii or X-Box. Because they’ve been made at a factory owned by FOXCONN. So before you yell at Apple, make sure you are yelling at all these other companies who use FOXCONN factories too! Don’t single out Apple as the scapegoat who is responsible for what another company does!

Got anything to say? Go ahead and leave a comment!