Apple supplier Foxconn denies using forced student labor in Chinese factories

Labor groups and workers, however, said students are being forced to work at the Foxconn factories

Apple supplier Foxconn has denied forcing vocational school students in China to work at its factories, following claims that the students must remain employed at the company or lose school credit.

Foxconn said in a statement on Tuesday the company has "long had a short-term internship program" to bring students from vocational schools to work at the factories. All the students are within legal working age, and on average make up 2.7 percent of the company's work force in China.

"The internship programs range in length from one to six months and students are free to leave the internship program at any time," the company said.

New York-based China Labor Watch, however, said it found instances of Foxconn interns being misled to come and work at a company manufacturing base in Zhengzhou, China, which is building Apple's new iPhone.

The student workers must continue to work, or else lose school credit and be unable to graduate, said Li Qiang, founder of China Labor Watch. But because media reports have been covering the controversy, Foxconn has issued a notice, saying students can return to their schools if they no longer wish to work, he added.

Labor experts have said the use of vocational students in factories is common in China. In the case of the students at Foxconn's Zhengzhou factory, schools are arranging the internships in order to make money from Foxconn, Li said.

Foxconn said in its statement that the schools themselves recruit the students under the supervision of the local government. During the internship, teachers are then assigned to "accompany and monitor" the students, who are paid the same wages as full-time entry-level workers.

In denying the allegations, the Taiwanese manufacturing giant also pointed to recent audits of its factories carried out by the Fair Labor Association, which found no evidence that the students were pressured to continue with the internship program. Those audits, however, did not investigate factories in Zhengzhou.

While Foxconn denies any forced internships, a company worker in Zhengzhou said in an interview on Tuesday that there are cases of students being required to work at Foxconn in order to graduate.

Some interns have just entered their schools, but are being forced to work at Foxconn, he said. "If they don't come to Foxconn to work, they won't be able to get their diploma," he said. "I don't see what the benefit is of them coming from school to work here."

IDG News Service visited Zhengzhou last weekend. Foxconn recruitment offices are prevalent across neighborhoods near the factories and seeking to hire workers from age 16 to 45. Entry level pay starts at 1800 yuan (US$284) a month.

One high school worker, aged 18, said he came to the factory to work as part of an internship arranged by his teacher. However, he said he came to work because there was little for him to do during the summer break. He declined to give out his name for fear of being punished.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Michael Kan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

D-Link TAIPAN AC3200 Ultra Wi-Fi Modem Router (DSL-4320L)

Learn more >

Xiro Drone Xplorer V -3 Axis Gimbal & 1080p Full HD 14MP Camera

Learn more >

Crucial® BX200 SATA 2.5” 7mm (with 9.5mm adapter) Internal Solid State Drive

Learn more >

ASUS ROG Swift PG279Q – Reign beyond virtual world

Learn more >

D-Link PowerLine AV2 2000 Gigabit Network Kit

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things


Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Lexar Professional 2000x SDHC™/SDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Lexar Professional 2000x SDHC™/SDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

ASUS VivoPC VM62 - Incredibly Powerful, Unbelievably Small

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Lexar Professional 2000x SDHC™/SDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Best Deals on Good Gear Guide

Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.


Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?