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The Tech News Blog

February 22, 2012

Nightline Apple Special Highlights Spotless Foxconn Factories, Low Wages

ABC's Nightline went inside the Chengdu, China factories of Foxconn last night, where most of the world's iPads, iPhones, and Mac computers are produced.

The visit, which happened in conjunction with the Fair Labor Association's (FLA) audit of Foxconn facilities, showed off spotless factory floors where thousands of workers put together various iDevices as a computerized voice chirps "OK!" after each successful move.

But workers earn only $1.78 per hour and when Nightlinehost Bill Weir spoke to employees, many complained about the low wages. Still, they lined up by the thousands at dawn in order to snag a job at Foxconn. And Foxconn will hire about 80 percent of the 3,000 people waiting at the gates, thanks to demand for Apple's gadgets.

Despite the minimal pay, long hours, and close quarters (workers pay $17.50 per month to live in a seven-person dorm room), Foxconn is often a better alternative to staying in rural villages. Weir visited one such village near Chengdu, where large families lived in one-room homes with very few amenities. Despite the proximity to the Foxconn plant, though, the majority had never even seen an iPad.