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Foxconn Admits Employing Underage Interns

Shunqi Lin |
October 16, 2012 | 4:10 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

Creative Commons
Creative Commons
Foxconn, the major supplier of Apple in China, has admitted to employing interns between the ages of 14 and 16 in its factory in eastern China's Yan Tai City.

Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision Industry Corporation, the parent company of Foxconn, released a statement on Tuesday saying they “recognize that full responsibility for these violations rests with our company and we have apologized to each of the students for our role in this action,” and "Any Foxconn employee found, through our investigation, to be responsible for these violations will have their employment immediately terminated."

The company said it ordered an internal investigation of how the interns were sent to its factory. Some of the interns have been sent back to their schools.

Foxconn is best known as the manufacturer of Apple Inc.'s iPhone. Other major clients include Microsoft Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co. It said the Yan Tai factory had no connection with its work for Apple.

According to China National Radio, more than 3,000 students from local vocational colleges were sent to Foxconn to work as interns in September. Some of them were under 16 years old, the minimum working age in China.

The internships at Foxconn lasted one to three months. Interns were required to work on an assembly line or on logistics for about 12 hours a day. They also had to work on a night shift from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. the next day once every three weeks, even those under 16.

CNR reported that because of the amount of product orders, there was no time for the students to rest. They were required to work on weekends as well and were not allowed to ask for leave.

“They rejected my ask for sick leave three times. I was having a fever but they just didn’t approve it and kept looking for excuses,” said one student.

Despite the hard work, the students are paid very little. The normal wage is 1500 yuan (roughly $236), but one-third of it has to be paid on board and accommodation costs. Overtime pay is 1.5 times the original wage.  

CNR also found that the students were working on producing the latest Wii U by Nintendo. It is reported that the assembly factory in Japan caught fire days ago, but the company said they would not postpone the launch date of the game machine.


Reach Staff Reporter Shunqi Lin here. Follow her on Twitter here.




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