Apple CEO Visits Controversial Manufacturing Plant

Dennis Faas's picture

Apple chief executive officer Tim Cook has now visited Foxconn, the eastern Chinese manufacturing facility that has been at the center of a media storm these past few months.

Last week Cook toured Zhengzhou Technology Park, where many Apple products, including the newest version of the popular iPad, are produced. Cook has never before visited China.

According to reports concerning the high-level visit, at one point Cook met with and was subtly scolded by a top Chinese official.

Foxconn Workers Report Being Treated Like 'Animals'

Zhengzhou, which employs about 120,000 people, is the best known part of the Foxconn facility that has drawn so much attention recently.

It's the place where a CNN journalist visited last month, and where employees who were interviewed during that visit pronounced themselves and their co-workers to be overworked and underpaid.

One worker is even reported to have claimed that employees there are treated like 'animals.'

At the time, people around the world expressed dismay that Foxconn workers said they had never seen a finished Apple product, even though they spent about sixty hours each week building them.

In the wake of that public relations disaster, Apple said it would send independent investigators to inspect the Foxconn facilities.

Cook's visit is one aspect of Apple's sophisticated attempt to rebuild its previously shiny reputation, which has been at least partially damaged by the negative reports coming out of Foxconn.

Chinese Officials Subtly Lay Guilt

Included in the Apple CEO's schedule was a meeting with various Chinese government officials, including vice premier Li Keqiang, who reportedly told Cook that foreign firms like his must "pay more attention to caring for workers". (Source:

However, Apple remains tight-lipped about the precise conversations that Cook had with the Chinese government representatives when they met, and what agreements, if any, resulted.

In the wake of Cook's tour, however, a Chinese newspaper is reporting the Chinese vice premier indicated that intellectual property rights (or China's problem with counterfeiting) was a major point of discussion.

In an official statement, Apple reported that Cook's China tour and his meetings with Chinese officials had been "great".

"China is very important to us and we look forward to even greater investment and growth here," said a statement released by Apple. (Source:

Right now there's no clear evidence concerning how much time was spent discussing specific problems at Foxconn.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet