Report Goes In-Depth Into Foxconn’s Zhengzhou iPhone Factory

The iPhone is the biggest aspect to Apple’s business at this point, and a new report goes in-depth into Foxconn’s factory where the device is put together.

The article was published by The New York Times today, and delves into the workings that make the iPhone manufacturing plant in Zhengzhou, China, tick. The plant is so massive, and has such an impact on the area, that it is known internally as “iPhone City.” The article itself covers a variety of different topics, outlining how a plethora of “hidden bounty of perks, tax breaks, and subsidies,” in Foxconn’s operations. Apple, for its part, has said that it is “not a party to.”

“The well-choreographed customs routine is part of a hidden bounty of perks, tax breaks and subsidies in China that supports the world’s biggest iPhone factory, according to confidential government records reviewed by The New York Times, as well as more than 100 interviews with factory workers, logistics handlers, truck drivers, tax specialists and current and former Apple executives. The package of sweeteners and incentives, worth billions of dollars, is central to the production of the iPhone, Apple’s best-selling and most profitable product.”

The report notes that the facility, which is massive, resides in an impoverished region and hosts upwards of six million people. When the manufacturing plant is running at full power, it can put together 500,000 iPhones every single day, which also helped the factory earn its nickname.

Foxconn had to search for the right area to build its massive plant, and many different cities within China offered their own incentives, which included reduced transportation costs and reduced energy costs. Zhengzhou was eventually chosen, and it didn’t take long before it launched assembly lines back in 2010. The city zoned the plant, and then included a $250 million loan to Foxconn. The government also pledged to spend over $10 million to expand the nearby airport as well.

All of which is to make sure that the Foxconn factory can run at full speed as often as possible, and dole out as many iPhones as it can on any given day. Foxconn earns bonuses for meeting export quotas as well. All to say that it comes down to the workers on those factory lines, which, in 2014, there were 94 production lines.

“A crushing work force begins arriving for the early shift at 6:30 a.m. They travel by foot, by bus, by motor scooter and even by pedicab.

They file steadily into dozens of factory sites, spread out across 2.2 square miles. At the peak, some 350,000 workers assemble, test and package iPhones — up to 350 a minute.

Apple’s labor force, the size of a national army, relies heavily on the generosity of the Zhengzhou government.

As part of its deal with Foxconn, the state recruits, trains and houses employees. Provincial officials call townships and villages to ask for help finding potential workers.”

Foxconn is one of the most loyal, and most important, parts of the manufacturing process for Apple and its iPhone lineup, and has even considered expanding its operation to the United States. It is gearing up to be a major supplier for the iPhone launching next year, as well.

[via The New York Times]