Until the past year, it's safe to say that many of us had never heard of the Taiwan-based company Foxconn, whose Chinese factories (they also have a few, smaller facilities in the U.S. and other countries) make a huge amount of our gadgets for companies like Apple, Dell, and Amazon. That was, until the company was besieged by a string of negative revelations, mostly focused on working conditions and employee suicides--something the company tried to address by having workers sign a pact not to kill themselves--and most recently, this month's deadly explosion at an iPad polishing … Read more
Apple's iPad 2 could see a production shortfall of up to 500,000 units in the second quarter due to the fatal explosion at a Foxconn manufacturing facility, according to market research firm iSuppli.
In a research note today, IHS iSuppli said that, contingent on potential production shutdowns, supply from the affected Chengdu plant could dive by as many 500,000 units, despite Foxconn assurances to the contrary. China-based Foxconn manufactures the iPad 2.
The plant suffered an explosion on Friday that killed three workers and injured another 15.
"Total iPad 2 production capacity at the Chengdu site amounts to about 500,000 units per month. If the explosion results in a production shutdown until the end of June--which may or may not happen, depending on the outcome of the still-pending investigation--a production stoppage of half a million units could result," the note said.
"Should the production suspension last longer, the impact on production could be even greater," according to iSuppli.
The note went on to say that while most iPad 2 production takes place at Foxconn's Shenzhen facility, that factory may not be able to make up for the shortfall in the second quarter.
Foxconn needs to manufacture between 7.8 million and 8.1 million units during the second quarter, according to iSuppli. As a result, production could fall short by between 300,000 and 600,000 units in that quarter.
On a more positive note, iSuppli believes the explosion's impact "will only last for the short term." … Read more
Too busy to keep up with the tech news? Here are some of the more interesting stories from CNET for Monday, May 23:
Sony is expecting $3.2 billion loss for its fiscal year and Sony's BMG Greece music site is hacked revealing more customer data. Google's idea of being a truly open platform goes through more growing pains and HP creates a whole new numbering system. That's "one plus" for you my friends.Subscribe: iTunes (MP3) | iTunes (320x180) | iTunes (640x360) | RSS (MP3) | RSS (320x180) | RSS (640x360)… Read more
"Among the three factories, occupational health and safety issues in Chengdu are alarming."
That passage is from a report (PDF) released by the Hong Kong-based group Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (SACOM) two weeks before Friday's explosion at Foxconn's Chengdu plant that killed two workers and injured more than a dozen others.
SACOM researchers visited Foxconn plants in Chengdu, where iPads are produced; in Chongqing, a smaller facility making mostly HP products; and Foxconn's huge campus in Shenzhen, where half a million workers assemble a variety of computers, mobile phones, and additional products for Apple, HP, Nokia, Dell, and others. The researchers claim to have observed a number of problems at the Chengdu facilities in particular:Workers do not have adequate training on usage of chemicals and do not have regular on-post health examinations. A number of interviewees even complain they suffer from allergy, but the management does not probe into the adverse health impacts of workers. Workers also highlight the problem of poor ventilation and inadequate personal protective equipment.
While SACOM notes the lack of ventilation as a possible threat to workers' respiratory health, it appears that it may also have been a contributing factor to Friday's explosion, which reportedly was centered in the "polishing" section of Foxconn's facilities. … Read more
We all really hope this isn't our last show ever, but if it is, we can apparently join a bunch of other Facebook hoodlum types and go loot the Apple store. Or, as one caller brilliantly renames them, the Apple Chapel. Also, sad news from China's Foxconn Plant, Comcast continues its parade of breathtakingly evil activities, and nothing's wrong with Georgia on Computer Love. --Molly--> Subscribe: iTunes (MP3) | iTunes (320x180) | iTunes (640x360) | RSS (MP3) | RSS (320x180) | RSS (640x360)… Read more
An explosion at a Foxconn factory near Chengdu, China, has killed at least two people and injured 16, according to a statement sent from the company, which reportedly manufactures Apple iPads at the site.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the explosion occurred Friday night near the southwestern China facility, halting production.
In a statement initially sent to Gizmodo, Foxconn says the situation is now under control and the production hold will continue while police investigate.Here's the full statement, which Foxconn sent to CNET this afternoon: We can confirm that at approximately 7 p.m. on May 20, there was an explosion at our Chengdu campus. At this point, we can also confirm that there were two fatalities with injuries to 16 other employees. We are working with medical officials to provide treatment to the injured employees and we are working with government and law enforcement officials to contact the families of all employees affected by this tragedy.
The situation has been brought under control by the fire department and the cause of this explosion is being investigated by local police officials. Foxconn is cooperating fully with that investigation. Production has been suspended at the site of the explosion until the completion of the investigation. The safety of our employees is our highest priority and we will do whatever is required to determine and address the cause of this tragic accident.
Apple did not immediately return CNET's request for comment, but it did provide the following statement to AllThingsD. "We are deeply saddened by the tragedy at Foxconn's plant in Chengdu, and our hearts go out to the victims and their families. We are working closely with Foxconn to understand what caused this terrible event."… Read more
Foxconn Technology Group, the company responsible for the manufacturing of Apple's iPod, iPhone, and iPad, is said to be in talks with Brazil to invest $12 billion over the next five to six years for building new manufacturing facilities within its borders.
The plans, reported by Reuters today, were unveiled by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff while on a visit to Beijing. Rousseff told reporters there that Foxconn was looking to "invest" in the country in the form of new manufacturing facilities, creating jobs, and providing the Brazilian government with additional tax revenue.
The details of those plans, … Read more
Apple's just-released progress report on the labor-related practices of its overseas parts suppliers reveals grim truths behind the making of such popular gadgets as the iPad and iPhone--including worker poisonings, child labor violations, and 60-plus-hour work weeks.
The Supplier Responsibility 2011 Progress Report, released just weeks after Apple logged record profits of $6 billion, marks the first time the company has officially acknowledged that 137 workers "suffered adverse health effects" at Wintek's Suzhou factory in China (which supplies parts to Apple and Nokia) because of exposure to n-hexane, a toxic chemical in cleaning agents.