It's rare to get a look inside Foxconn International, so I was excited to see John Biggs of TechCrunch.com is writing about his visit to the company's Foxconn City factory in Shenzhen, China. Biggs is writing a series of posts titled "The Future of Foxconn," the Taiwan-based injection molder and contract manufacturer that makes computers and electronics at 26 plants around the world. Foxconn City has 400,000 employees, according to Biggs. To put that number into perspective, that's more than the number of people who live in Cleveland, Ohio, or Miami, Fla. Part one of the series addresses the high-profile problem the plant had last year with 14 workers committing suicide. Today the plant has nets to prevent workers from jumping to their deaths. Part two takes a look inside the factory, with some eye-popping details about what it takes just to feed the workforce every day. Biggs has an ambitious goal for the project -- not just to write about the company, but to write about Foxconn's place in manufacturing history. Here's a taste:
To state the obvious, the world isn't fair. Factories like Foxconn City shouldn't exist. There should be no reason employees should stand for 10 hours a day, six days a week, to manufacture an iPad. But, in fairness, Foxconn sees its own place in the world changing as we speak. I'll address these changes my final piece, but it is clear that the company doesn't expect to be in the manufacturing business forever nor does it expect its employees to always stay on the line. The truth is that the sunset of the human worker is upon us and as Foxconn and other factories begin replacing their employees with robots, the societal changes that will take place could be striking.I'm already looking forward to the rest of the series.