Apple contracts with manufacturers to assemble iPhones. Two of those companies, Foxconn and Pegatron, both based in Taiwan, build iPhones in the Chinese cities of Zhengzhou, Shenzhen, and Shanghai.
Job hunting at Foxconn
Apple hires Foxconn to make most of its iPhones. Foxconn, in turn, hires hundreds of thousands of Chinese to do the labor. The jobs are in such high demand that workers line up at recruiters outside Foxconn's Zhengzhou factory. Many of the recruits in this group brought suitcases in case they land jobs at other Foxconn factories in China.
Foxconn operates factories in several Chinese cities, including two campuses in Shenzhen, the south China city that borders Hong Kong. This is the gate of the smaller of those two factories, in Shenzhen's Guanlan neighborhood, where the company employs 160,000 workers. Foxconn employs another 240,000 workers at the plant in the Longhua neighborhood.
After several suicides and suicide attempts at Foxconn's factories, including this one in Shenzhen's Guanlan neighborhood, the company installed netting to discourage employees from jumping off its buildings.
Pegatron workers, like the ones at Foxconn, also wear shirts with the company emblem. Here, the shirts are color-coded, indicating the line on which the employee works. Red shirted workers assemble iPhones.
Young Chinese are often so keen to work for contract manufacturers such as Pegatron that they pay recruiters to find them jobs. The sign outside this Pegatron building in Shanghai reads: "Our company hires employees without an extra fee."
Debby Chan, who works for the Hong Kong-based group Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior or SACOM, has been one of the most outspoken critics of Apple and Foxconn. Here, she's standing outside Foxconn's factory in the Guanlan neighborhood of Shenzhen in south China.