updated 10:00 am EDT, Thu March 29, 2012
Apple CEO likely eager to dispel labor concerns
Apple CEO Tim Cook has toured a new Foxconn production plant for the iPhone, company spokeswoman Carolyn Wu tells Bloomberg. The facility is based in Zhengzhou, China, and is said to employ about 120,000 people. Official photos show Cook and a Chinese entourage passing by some of the workers who manually assemble iPhone parts for up to 60 hours a week or more.
Cook may be eager to tackle complaints from organizations like China Labor Watch, which have accused Apple of turning a blind eye to conditions at suppliers. Companies like Foxconn have been accused to practices like excessive overtime, inadequate pay, and underage labor. Cook has insisted that Apple is actively concerned with labor standards. The company is also the only technology business in the Fair Labor Association, which conducts inspections of facilities, although the impartiality of the group has been brought into question owing to its backers being the same companies whose suppliers are under scrutiny.
Cook has been visiting a number of people and places in China this week. This includes an Apple Store, and various government officials, such as Vice Premier Li and the mayor of Beijing.