How Apple Can Solve Its China Problem

How Apple Can Solve Its China Problem -...

Info icon This preview shows pages 1–2. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
How Apple Can Solve Its China Problem By  Mike Elgan  • 1:43 pm, January 28, 2012 Apple is on the brink of becoming the poster child for worker abuse.  Journalists and rights organizations are starting to  draw attention to the enormous contrast between Apple’s quarterly billions in profits, and the desperate plight of abused  workers in China. And the closer you look, the uglier this issue gets. And it threatens to damage Apple’s long-term prospects for continued growth and success. Here’s the problem, and also what Apple can do about it. The culture of Chinese manufacturing is rife with horrors, including child labor, unpaid overtime, slave-like living and  working conditions, punitive withholding of wages, unsafe handling of chemicals and equipment, rampant  environmental abuses and more. Employees who polish iPad cases sparkle in the sun like Twilight vampires, even after showering, because the  aluminum dust is so thoroughly embedded in their skin. In addition to the reality of manufacturing, there’s also the perception.  The New York Times  published a devastating  story Jan. 25 (“ In China, Human Costs Are Built Into an iPad “). The story emphasized workers being killed by chemical explosions, child labor and general worker abuse. The whole point of the article was to contrast Apple’s spectacular financial success with the horrors of working  conditions suffered by makers of Apple products. The online comic The Joy of Tech illustrated some hilarious suggestions about  how Apple could spend its $100 billion  cash hoard , ending with the not-so-funny suggestion that Apple share the money with factory workers. A cultural meme is developing that Apple is awash in billions made by callously destroying the lives of Chinese youth.  Once established, it will stick to Apple like aluminum dust, and become impossible to shake off no matter what Apple  actually does. Inside the Culture of Chinese Manufacturing Chinese factory jobs aren’t careers for most employees. They’re temporary “sacrifice” jobs.  People in their early 20s leave their homes, and deliberately sacrifice two to 10 years or more of their youth to the cause  of saving money for the future. Many of them are undereducated country bumpkins or ethnic minorities with limited job  prospects outside factory work. Others are relatively well educated, but factory work offers the best option for job  security in a tough economy.
Image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Image of page 2
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern