Foxconn confirms underaged interns working at Chinese factory

Foxconn confirms underaged interns working at Chinese factory

Summary: Contract manufacturer finds underaged interns working at its factory in Yantai, China, and sends the students back to school.

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Taiwanese contract manufacturer Foxconn confirms underaged interns were discovered working at its factory in Yantai, China, and says it has sent them back to school.

Foxconn told Bloomberg in a report Tuesday it had conducted internal investigation and determined the interns, aged 14 to 16, had been working at the facility for about three weeks.

In an e-mail to the newswire, the manufacturing company said: "Any Foxconn employee found, through our investigation, to be responsible for these violations will have their employment immediately terminated. We recognize that full responsibility for these violations rests with our company and we have apologized to each of the students for our role in this action."

The company manufactures Apple's iPhones and iPads. 

Foxconn's comments confirmed a report Monday from labor rights group, China Labor Watch, as well as various reports by the Chinese media stating the Yantai factory had employed underaged workers.

The China Labor Watch report said "a small number" of student interns were hired during summer and the contract manufacturer has begun to send the students back to school. As the students were sent to Foxconn by their schools, the labor rights group said the school should take primary responsibility but added that Foxconn was also "culpable" for not checking the age of the recruits.

The Chinese media, however, believed Foxconn played a role in pushing the local government to ask schools to send students to work at the factory, due to a shortage of workers and the need to meet increasing orders.

Foxconn had been plagued with employee-related scandals in the past weeks. Workers organized a peaceful strike last week which caused a production line to stall. In late-September, a riot broke out at Foxconn's Taiyuan factory resulting in 40 workers sent to hospital for medical attention. 

In another report it released in August, China Labor Watch also accused Samsung of hiring underaged workers in its Chinese factories. 

Topics: IT Employment, Legal, China, Tech Industry

Liau Yun Qing

About Liau Yun Qing

The only journalist in the team without a Western name, Yun Qing hails from the mountainy Malaysian state, Sabah. She currently covers the hardware and networking beats, as well as everything else that falls into her lap, at ZDNet Asia. Her RSS feed includes tech news sites and most of the Cheezburger network. She is also a cheapskate masquerading as a group-buying addict.

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18 comments
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  • To all iPhone 5 buyers, just think of.....

    the bragging rights you have now.

    "My iPhone was made by 14 yr olds"

    Now who could not be proud of that?
    Dewi Thompson
    • Sorry to burst your bubble, but...

      The Yentai plant doesn't make anything for Apple. Printers and Sony laptops are made there.

      Will you repost with the correct information? Probably not.
      msalzberg
      • It's the same owners. There's no difference.

        Using underage workers in one of their plant allows them not to use them in their other more scrutinized iPhone 5 plant.
        laequis
        • Say, what?

          Do you have any idea of what you just wrote?

          I guess by your logic it's my fault that some guy in my town ran a red light, because I didn't.
          msalzberg
        • Everyone uses

          Why don't you try and do some research for a change and Google for FoxConn clients? You'll find their client to be just about every big name in electronics today.
          observer1959
      • Errr.....

        If it is happening at one plant, there is that chance it will happen at others.
        Gisabun
    • Hey Dewi

      Before you get much further in your "holier than thou" rant about how iOS device owners are enabling child and slave labor read through the following links:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foxconn

      http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/27/magazine/27FOB-consumed-t.html?_r=0

      http://www.democraticunderground.com/1002227098

      By YOUR logic if you own anything made by any of the companies that uses Foxconn you too are enabling child and slave labor. Ooops! Guess you might want to do some basic research before you post.
      athynz
  • So why the line

    "The company manufactures Apple's iPhones and iPads." as if that is ALL the company manufactures? Like that Dewi Thompson dude you fail to do the basic research or more likely you fail to disclose Foxconn's OTHER customers - nice almost subtle attempt at clickbait at best and another article to rile up the iHaters at worst.

    Don't beleive that Foxconn manufactures other company's products?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foxconn

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/27/magazine/27FOB-consumed-t.html?_r=0

    http://www.democraticunderground.com/1002227098

    So why not disclose ALL of Foxconn's customers rather than just the one?
    athynz
    • Actually, it would have been proper journalistically...

      to write "the plant assembles printers and Sony laptops," or to write a little click bait and still be honest "they assemble Apple's iPhones and iPads at plants other than this one."
      msalzberg
      • IMHO It would have been more journalisticly proper

        To not even mention clients that Foxconn does work for or barring that mention all of them. Singling out Apple about issues at a Foxconn plant is nothing more than sensationalistic click bait and had no real bearing on the actual story. I'd say the same thing if the author mentioned Nintendo, Dell, or HP as a sole client as she did with Apple.
        athynz
  • Anybody remember the underage...

    bat boy scandal in Major League Baseball? Poor FoxConn, they try and do a student experience public service thing, and the school sends them underage students (probably at their parent's urging) in violation of Chinese law. Since the media doesn't say what the jobs were, they were probably clerical, since how many underage children would be good at a skilled job? Sounds like someone in the party wants to be paid off...
    Tony Burzio
  • I wonder if any Apple fanboi will be stupid enough

    Just curious to see if any idiotic Apple fanboi reverses the script they trotted out when workers in the Apple assembly lines at Foxconn were killing themselves? The script back then was:"

    Foxconn is a huge company and they make things for tons of other companies. You can't look at what those workers were doing specifically. It isn't fair to mention that this assembly line only built Apple products."

    I wonder if any idiotic Apple fanboi will be stupid enough to write something like:
    "The Yentai plant doesn't make anything for Apple. Printers and Sony laptops are made there."

    Suddenly, it is really important to highlight that different parts of Foxconn make different products, something that WASN'T important when the Apple builders were treated so bad that they felt death was better than continuing to work for Apple.

    Nah, no Apple fanboi could be that stupid. Could they?
    toddbottom3
    • Just so you understand, here's the story:

      Foxconn had underage workers at a factory that didn't make any Apple product.

      No one could be so stupid as to turn that into an ant-Apple rant. Could they?
      msalzberg
    • On second thought, NonZealot...

      maybe you're right: It was stupid of me to point out that this story had absolutely nothing to do with Apple.

      I mean, after all, why should the truth matter?
      msalzberg
      • Toddy is not NZ

        He lacks NZ's grudging admittance that Apple products are decent hardware.
        athynz
        • I don't know...

          he does claim to own Apple products, as NonZealot did, he's obsessive about anything even remotely connected (or not) with Apple, he disrupts any conversation about Apple, he never lets facts get in his way, and he fixates on phrases ("cue the double standards") that he uses continuously, as with the latest phase of mentioning some fictional 'script.' All traits of NonZealot.

          Oh, and he's a laughingstock.
          msalzberg
        • Further...

          the new phrase is "you can't make this stuff up."

          Watch how he ends each post with that. Definitely NonZealot. Probably had to change his name since he was kicked off, just as he was from CNet.
          msalzberg
    • Toddy,Toddy, Toddy

      What part of Foxconn manufacturing products for other companies do you not get? What part of this particular plant is not even manufacturing Apple products do you not get? What part of this being a click bait article do you not get? What part of this article doesn't involve Apple do you not get?

      Yup, I've said the same thing when you iHaters were bashing Apple over issues at Foxconn that THEY uncovered via an independent third party audit that Apple then shared and when the suicides were happening at Foxconn. Suddenly you find I'm saying the same thing I've said all along.

      Seriously I can't make this stuff up.
      athynz