Business, Finance & Economics

Apple factory in Foxconn City inspected by Fair Labor Association


A participant (L) wearing a mask of Apple CEO Steve Jobs and holding a model of an Ipad takes part in a protest against Taiwanese technology giant Foxconn, which manufactures Apple products in China, outside an Apple retail outlet in Hong Kong on May 7, 2011.


Antony Dickson

Apple has asked the Fair Labor Association to conduct a special audit on living and working conditions in factories where the iPhone and other Apple products are made. The technology company announced the voluntary audit today and said the inspections have already begun. 

The Fair Labor Association is currently inspecting a factory in Shenzhen, China, known as Foxconn City. The factory employes over 230,000 people, according to the New York Times.  

More from GlobalPost: Special report: Silicon Sweatshops

Apple has come under intense scrutiny for the working conditions in its factories abroad.

A five-part GlobalPost investigation published in 2009 found that many popular technology companies, including Apple, sell products that are "made and assembled in Asia by workers who have few rights, and often toil under sweatshop-like conditions."

And last month, the New York Times reported that almost all of Apple's products are manufactured overseas, despite the fact that Apple had once boasted about its products being made in America.

Apple has been releasing a yearly audit on conditions in its factories since 2007. However, the reports "are vague regarding where abuses are discovered," making it "impossible to determine which facilities are bad actors," the Times said.

Apple promised today that the new Fair Labor Association audits will be more specific. “The inspections now underway are unprecedented in the electronics industry, both in scale and scope, and we appreciate the FLA agreeing to take the unusual step of identifying the factories in their reports," said Apple CEO Tim Cook