updated 12:30 pm EDT, Fri May 20, 2011
Could seriously impair iPad 2 production
An explosion has rocked Foxconn's manufacturing facilities in Chengdu, China, reports say. The extent of the damage is unclear, although current reports point to two deaths and 16 injuries, three of the latter being serious. Early into the disaster there were reported to be several ambulances, over 10 firetrucks and more than 10 police cars on the scene. Images taken from a distance show smoke billowing into the sky.
The damaged building is said to be A5, which concentrates on iPad 2 production. The explosion could therefore have serious ramifications for Apple, which has been struggling to keep up with iPad 2 demand even when Foxconn was at full production capacity. The only consolation may be that the bulk of Foxconn's Apple manufacturing is based in Shenzhen, at a campus with over 200,000 workers.
Activists have previously accused Foxconn of not using proper safety precautions. This includes informing workers about dangerous chemicals, although the cause of the Chengdu explosion is unknown. Apple has tried to assure the public that its suppliers meet strict standards.