An in-depth study of the most powerful electronics contractor and the lives of its 1.4 million workers.

During 2010, 18 workers attempted suicide at Taiwanese-owned Foxconn Technology Group’s Chinese facilities, where Apple and other high profile branded products are produced and assembled. They ranged in age from 17 to 25 – the prime of youth. Fourteen died, while four survived with crippling injuries. What had driven the young Chinese workers to commit the desperate act? What light did they cast on China’s much touted economic transformation in the era of export-oriented growth? The mystery that our investigation seeks to explore is not only the “inside story” of Foxconn; it is also the nature of global capitalism embodying with specific relationship between Foxconn and its buyers, the largest and richest being Apple, as well as that between Foxconn and the Chinese state. These are the relationships that shape conditions on the factory floor and ultimately workers’ lives. An in-depth study of the most powerful electronics contractor and the lives of its 1.4 million workers enable us to draw out the deep contradictions among labor, capital, and the Chinese state in global IT production.

About the speakers

  • Jenny Chan

    Affiliation: University of Oxford

    Jenny Chan is Lecturer of Sociology at the School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies, University of Oxford. Educated at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the University of Hong Kong, she was a Reid Research Scholar while pursuing her PhD at the University of London. In 2013-2014 she received the prestigious Great Britain-China Educational Award. Currently she serves as Board Member of the International Sociological Association’s Research Committee on Labor Movements (2014-2018). Her recent articles have appeared in Current Sociology, Modern China, Human Relations, Critical Asian Studies, Global Labor Journal, The Asia-Pacific Journal, The South Atlantic Quarterly, New Labor Forum, and New Technology, Work and Employment. She is co-writing with PUN Ngai and Mark SELDEN for her first book provisionally entitled Dying for an iPhone: The Hidden Struggle of China’s Workers.

This page was last modified on 15 March 2017