Business Week: The Man Who Makes Your iPhone

Do you own an iPhone? Have you used products from IBM, Cisco, Microsoft, Nokia, Sony, or HP? If you have, then they’ve been manufactured by Foxconn, the global juggernaut of modern electronic manufacturing. Business Week has written an extensive article profiling “The Man Who Makes Your iPhone”, aka Foxconn founder, Terry Gou.

Foxconn employs more than 920,000 workers across 20 mainland factories. The company has been in the news lately after 11 employee suicides. If you want to read more into this company and how it operates, you definitely want to give this a read. For those who don’t have time, here’s an excerpt of a section about the iPhone 4:

When Apple’s iPhone4 was nearing production, Foxconn and Apple discovered that the metal frame was so specialized that it could be made only by an expensive, low-volume machine usually reserved for prototypes. Apple’s designers wouldn’t budge on their specs, so Gou ordered more than 1,000 of the $20,000 machines from Tokyo-based Fanuc. Most companies have just one. “Terry is a strong leader with a passion for excellence,” says Tim Cook, Apple’s chief operating officer. “He’s a trusted partner and we are fortunate to work with him.” The Longhua plant now produces 137,000 iPhones a day, or about 90 a minute.

Foxconn founder Terry Gou might be regarded as Henry Ford reincarnated if only a dozen of his workers hadn't killed themselves this year. An exclusive look inside a postmodern industrial empire

For Foxconn’s factory to pump out 137,000 iPhones per day, at 90 a minute is just insanity. What’s even crazier is that at this pace Apple still can’t keep up with the world’s (especially Canada’s) insatiable hunger for the iPhone 4.

A Preview of Images from Foxconn, as taken by Businessweek. Here’s the intro text to the gallery, and a few select images:

Foxconn Gives Bloomberg Businessweek Unprecedented Access

Foxconn, the secretive Taiwanese company that produces Apple’s iPhone and iPad, the Sony PlayStation, Nintendo Wii, and Dell computers, was forced into the limelight in May 2010 after a dozen employees committed suicide, most by jumping from company dormitories. As part of a much needed public relations effort, Foxconn granted Bloomberg Businessweek unprecedented access to the company’s factory floors, worker dorms, suicide helpline operators, and the company’s charismatic chairman and founder, 59-year-old Terry Gou. Here are some images of its sprawling facility in Longhua, a suburb of Shenzhen, China, where more than 300,000 migrant laborers work.

Motherboards being assembled.

Free meals at the Foxconn canteen

...suicide nets outside dormitories.

Click here to read the entire Business Week article and here to see the photo gallery.

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