Historically, the “Made in China” label has become synomous with cheap, and ofter poor quality, for the American consumer. Lately the quality has improved, and so the perspective for “Made in China” has shifted to human conditions and the growing deficit with China. In short, “Made in China” may save money for Americans, but it causes “Hurt in China.”
A highly visible example of this are products from Apple, including the iPhone, iPad and iPod. The imports of Apple products from China to the US contribute $2 billion to the US-China trade deficit. There are underlying according to ADBI: of the $178 wholesale price of the iPhone, only $6.50 of the value comes from the Chinese workers who put it together, while $10.75 of contribution occurs from US-made parts and design. Additionally, it is estimated that of the 41,000 total jobs associated with producing just the iPhone, 14,000 related jobs are in the US.
Apple has responded to recent critical reports of labor conditions with Chinese factories producing Apple products. Foxconn, by far the largest employer, broke industry codes of conduct by having their employees frequently work more than sixty hours/week, and many times greater than 11 days in a row. Foxconn is said to have over 35,000 employees.
When inspections were made into three large Foxconn facilities where Apple products are manufactured, the results were that 43 percent of workers had experienced or witnessed accidents, and almost 66% of employees said their compensation “does not meet their basic needs.”
Foxconn, under media and international pressure, has made changes to improve working conditions across China.