Foxconn plans to improve labor conditions in its Chinese factories where iPhones and iPads are made, according to CEO Terry Gou, and Apple will reportedly share in the costs of making those improvements.
"We've discovered that this [improving factory conditions] is not a cost. It is a competitive strength," Gou told reporters on Thursday, according to Reuters. "I believe Apple sees this as a competitive strength along with us, and so we will split the initial costs."
Apple and Foxconn have come under heavy fire recently from critics saying the factories that make iPhones, iPads, and other Apple gadgets are little more than sweatshops that exploit Chinese workers. A 2006 incident involving labor law violations at one of Foxconn's factories prompted Apple to begin internal audits of its entire supply chain. Those audits have turned up numerous abuses, and while Apple has taken steps to rectify them, activists believe Apple could do more.