Young people assembling iPods in China earn $130 per month while working 12-hour days. They are given “factory housing,” where hundreds of workers share common rooms, bunk-style, in large dorms. The dorms have no air conditioning and the temperature can reach 96 degrees in the summer. Since the factory floor is air-conditioned, working a Saturday shift sometimes is better for these workers than resting in the hot dorms.

Top-of-the-line iPods sell for $400 here in the U.S. and are about $420 in China. They are priced higher there because they appeal only to the wealthiest clientele. Needless to say, the people that make the iPods are not spending three months of wages to buy one. They aren’t having weekend getaways to Hong Kong to go shopping. They are working their asses off to build something that they will never afford. That just seems wrong. Great story by the Chronicle.


  1. I think that’s the way it is for a lot of things that are made in Chinese factories.

    #1 by Meerenai — July 17, 2006 @ 9:21 am

  2. Damn, that may be true but we’ve come to expect more from a company that came up with the “Think Different” slogan. Apparently they are not thinking differently when it comes to exploiting workers when manufacturing their crap.

    I bet Apple (an the other companies featured in the story) could give away a top-of-the-line iPod to each worker, add air conditioning and iMacs in every dorm room, boost wages by 25%, and *still* make a big ass profit. But that’s just me thinking different.

    Someone told me that these workers are making more than double what other people their age are making and that they feel pretty fortunate, but somehow that didn’t come across in the article. China better be careful that this doesn’t turn into a civil war with one billion pissed off people coming after the ten million that are holding on to all the cash.

    #2 by Nugget — July 17, 2006 @ 9:38 am

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