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.