Part I: The Financial Times, 17 Jan 2023
How Apple tied its fortunes to China (PDF1)
Part II: The Financial Times, 18 Jan 2023
What it would take for Apple to disentangle itself from China (PDF2)
Jenny Chan, co-author of Dying for an iPhone, which details the lives of Foxconn workers who assemble Apple products, points out that China’s labour infrastructure is uniquely supported by the state. At times it is all but mandatory, she says, with villagers and students bussed in to lend hands.
“This is really important, because you will not get [much] interest to assemble an iPad or iPhone,” she says. “It’s repetitive work and you are just rendered as a robot — a tiny cog in a huge machine.”
Chan, the Foxconn labour researcher, predicts that as media attention dies down Apple will quietly increase its investments in the country. “China has so many advantages,” she says. “From the moderately educated and skilled workers to the really high level engineers and PhDs — those providing expertise in cutting-edge knowledge.”
Chan adds: “Apple would have too many difficulties to find the human resources and infrastructure that is parallel — or even close — to the scale provided in China.”