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Photos show state of Foxconn's Shenzhen campus

updated 01:15 pm EDT, Tue November 2, 2010

Cramped dorms, suicide nets

New images depict workers' living conditions at the Foxconn factory in Shenzhen, China. The facility is where electronics for many Western companies are assembled, including Apple products like the iPhone. Captured as part of a joint project by Wired and Gizmodo, the photos reveal spartan worker dormitories, with only modest luxuries.

Roughly half of Foxconn's 420,000 workers are based in Shenzhen. While the dorms have TV rooms on each floor, and workout equipment located outside, sleeping quarters are divided into rooms the size of two-car garages, with eight workers sharing four bunks. Personal items are kept in shelves or in lockers, and in newer dorms workers have to use a shared sink on a balcony to wash clothing and themselves.

Halls are described as "institutionally" empty, and dimly lit. The latter is however meant to save energy and keep temperature down, as well as allow late-shift workers to sleep better during the day. Dorm exteriors are meanwhile lined with nets, designed to counter a rash of suicides which eventually ended in May.

Foxconn has reportedly outsourced the management of living quarters, a response to complaints about potential conflicts of interest in doing it itself. The company's employment may still be tough, nevertheless; it has been accused of maintaining low wages and harsh hours, and even condoning abuse. Foxconn has denied all abuse allegations.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Jonathan-Tanya

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Looks clean and new

    The way all these countries use 1/3rd the energy of the U.S. isn't by magic, they just have much smaller living quarters.

    The energy to heat 100,000 tiny apartments in a mega apartment complex, is dramatically lower than heating 100,000 single family homes.

    I'm just saying, you are looking at the future.

  1. coffeetime

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not as bad...

    as I thought. Some U.S. government housings looks worst than this. This living quarter is an improvement for those coming from the remote villages.

  1. slboett

    Joined: Dec 1969



    It's the up to the USA to fix s*** in China or India. We did it here on our own, with lots of sacrifice. Enough of these freakin' sob stories on poor third-world workers.
    How about showing the Americans losing their homes to outsourcing?
    THAT is a story that I care about.
    Time to make a big change and bring back production to the USA. Time to employ Americans.
    And yes, I'll pay more for my goods if they do.

  1. JRobMN

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not so bad

    I'm not sure whether I'm supposed to be impressed or scandalized by these pictures. Anyone who's been to rural China would look at these dormitories and think that they actually look pretty good.

  1. Gazoobee

    Joined: Dec 1969



    You guys are just jumping on the bandwagon here and Gizmodo's bandwagon is not the one you want to be jumping on.

    The pictures are almost all of the oldest of the buildings available to workers and represent only a small fraction of what's there. Making a decision based on that seems guaranteed to be a bad idea. Also, as others have pointed out, aside from not being very cheery, what exactly is being charged here? What exactly is wrong with the facilities?

    The article calls the living quarters "spartan" but says they have "modest luxuries"???? WTF?

    What the heck is a "modest" luxury? A luxury is a luxury. It can't really be modest if it's a luxury. It's a plasma TV. Is it "modest" because it's only a regular plasma TV and not a giant plasma TV?

  1. lamewing

    Joined: Dec 1969


    My Army barracks

    My Army barracks at Fort Stewart, GA and Camp Castle were no better than this.

  1. Fast iBook

    Joined: Dec 1969


    The real problem...

    The real problem is not so much the tech workers living situation, the garment/fabric and food prep workers is where most of the problems lay. With pay so low they barely eat, yet the things their employers sell for 300 dollars a piece sometimes, or if its food like 30 dollars for 10 lbs. Cotton is a prime example.

    We are living in a world of artificially low prices here in the US, low because the people who make things, be it in mexico, canada, or china, don't get paid a living wage. h***, people usually don't get paid a living wage here either, especially in the retail sector. Try living by yourself in a safe neighborhood with phone tv and some kind of personal transportation or monthly transit pass on 7 something an hour...

    - A

  1. sailin74

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Americans really should become more familiar with their military and the living conditions at sea and while deployed. This looks pretty darn good compared to the way folks live at sea or at some bases in the US or overseas. If you think this is bad, consider how people live in the slums of China.

  1. Athens

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Excuss me....

    " the people who make things, be it in mexico, canada, or china, don't get paid a living wage."

    Canada... Canada... let me guess you think Canada is over sea's as well. F***ing r***** go get a education.

  1. macmedia1

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It's all relative

    Sure, there are things that are just totally unaffordable for those people working in those factories. You can say the same for here in the US. Some of our own workers in our factories making $10-$12/an hour who are living in totally substandard conditions. As them if they can afford a cheapie 19" LCD TV..

    I've been over to different parts of China and these people making $100/mo. can still afford to go out to eat every once in a while. I had great food at a restaurant an it cost me about $1.50 for dinner.

    I'd like to see how many Americans can actually afford to live an middle income family life in swanky Beverly Hills or right next to Central Park NYC. It's all relative. Those chinese workers are to middle income americans as we are to the Donald trumps.

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