60% of the world’s population has a mobile phone. All of the best phones — iPhones, Blackberries, probably the one you have — are made in at the Foxconn factory in China. Storyteller Mike Daisey visited Foxconn and talked with the workers. He shares his experience in the amazing essay above that was featured on This American Life.
Foxconn is the largest private employer in all of China. The company employs more than one million people. Half of them work at the Shenzhen factory. Foxconn and Apple received a lot of negative press after a rash of worker suicides – 17 total – in 2010 at the Shenzhen plant. Suicides became such a problem that the company put up nets to catch workers who were so depressed they’d rather jump to their death than go back to work.
The Chinese newspaper Southern Weekend sent reporter Liu Zhiyi undercover for 28 days into the factory in 2010. He wrote, “[The workers] actually envied those who could take a leave due to work injury.”