Ipod too pricey for its underpaid workers
The next time you toss a $99 iPod Shuffle into your Target shopping cart, consider this: The Chinese worker who assembled the music player would have to work for two months to afford one, if a report in the Mail on Sunday is accurate. (The British newspaper's "iPod City" article is not available online but has been summarized by Macworld UK.) The Mail says that Hon Hai Precision Industry, a Taiwanese contract manufacturer which assembles the iPods for Apple, houses 200,000 workers in dormitories in the Chinese city of Longhua and pays them the equivalent of $50 a month to work 15 hours a day on iPod assembly lines. iPod Shuffles are made in a similar plant in Suzhou, China. The plants, the Mail notes, employ women because they are viewed as more honest than male workers, according to security guards interviewed by the newspaper.
There may be errors in the report, Wired News notes For example, the Mail claims Hon Hai's Foxconn subsidiary employs 200,000 workers in Longhua, but the company only has 100,000 employees in the country according to published reports. Whatever the actual numbers, the Guardian's Technology Blog observes that working conditions in Apple's Chinese manufacturing plants may be to blame for company's quality problems.
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