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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Riots at Chinese Hardware Plants

Today Apple might have some regrets about its attempts to choke the supply of the iPhone 5 which aimed at artificially creating a buzz about a device which is actually the same as the last one.


The Apple’s plan was to manage to bring out lots of new devices after the buzz had ramped up enough. But it seems that something has gone bad behind the bamboo curtain. According to the reports that came a few days ago from China, a mass disturbance or riots may have broken out at a local Foxconn factory. The proof can found on the local popular twitter-like service called Weibo, which shows pictures and video of lots of police in riot gear gathering around the factory to block off people crowds.

The troubles began when Foxconn security guards hit a worker the other night, with the local censors being frantically deleting photos from the incident. In fact, this is not the first time that there’s a mass disturbance at the factory: this past March, there were also strikes at the location because the employees didn’t get a pay raise they had been promised before.

In the meantime, Foxconn's Chengdu factory located in Sichuan province has also seen rioting – for example, three months ago, a number of Foxconn workers were fighting with a local restaurant owner, with the police having to break up the fight. It looks like rioting became the only way the employees can force management to listen to them.

Moreover, media reports reveal that the company also had to deal with a string of suicides at its locations throughout China. They even had to install anti-jump nets at the factories in order to prevent more suicide attempts a couple years ago.

So, thus far it’s unclear what effect this will have on the supply of the iPhone 5, as the factory in question makes backplate for the device. By the way, Apple recently shifted iPad production from Foxconn to Pegatron.

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