Taiwanese tech manufacturer Foxconn, one of the companies that assembles Apple’s iOS mobile devices, intends to double the size of one of its biggest plant. This could allow it to produce twice as many iPhones.
The plant is located in the Chinese city of Zhengzhou and is one which the company uses to assemble Apple’s iPhone line of smartphones, Apple Insider reported. In 2011, the plant hired 100,000 new employees, and Foxconn is working with Zhengzhou to do the same in 2012, nearly doubling the size of the plant (it currently house 130,000 workers).
According to a report from the China Daily, Foxconn’s Zhengzhou plant produces more than 200,000 iPhones every single day. The assumption is that if the plant doubles the number of workers it employs, it’ll double the output. That could seriously help Apple, which has dealt with some major supply problems with its devices in the last year. The Cupertino tech giant struggled to fill demand for the iPhone 4S after its launch earlier this year, for example, and had similar problems with the last iteration of its smartphone. Having one of Foxconn’s plants double its output could help a great deal with those issues.
Foxconn, and Apple manufacturers in general, have something of a troubled past, however. Foxconn’s Zhengzhou plant saw several employees commit suicide during the past two years, raising serious concerns about working conditions. At the plant another Taiwanese iOS manufacturer, Pegatron, an explosion on Dec. 17 injured 61 workers after the aluminum dust used to polish iPads ignited, Bloomberg Businessweek reported. Back in May, a Foxconn plant suffered a similar incident, which resulted in the deaths of three workers and 15 others were injured. Working conditions in these plants have been a point of controversy for Apple, but outsourcing those manufacturing jobs to China has also been part of the iOS success story.
The plans for Foxconn’s Zhengzhou plant will put a $1.1 billion addition on the facility. Revenue from the huge plant – it’ll be the largest in the world – is projected to bring in $20 billion in sales revenue in 2012 alone. The company employs more than 1 million people and provides electronics to several device makers, of which Apple is just one.
And while the addition to Foxconn’s plant will likely be good news for Apple and iOS device owners, somehow it doesn’t seem likely to be an improvement for workers. The controversy over the conditions under which our technological devices are produced is likely to continue into the next year, along with their popularity.