Apple said that it is investigating an explosion at its Foxconn Technology Group factory near the central Chinese city of Chengdu on Friday, which killed three people and injured at least16.
Initial reports are that an explosion and subsequent fire were caused by combustible dust lying on the factory floor.
Taiwan-based Foxconn is Apple’s main manufacturing partner. The Chinese factory is known to produce large volumes of the iPad 2 and other products. The company said in a statement that production had been suspended until further notice.
Foxconn makes most of the iPhones and iPads at its base in Shenzhen, Guangdong province. Nevertheless the event near Chengdu triggered concerns about the supply of iPads.
Apple sold 4.69 million of the devices in April and was hoping to increase production in the third quarter to help it meet massive demand. The iPad 2 represents around 80 percent of the global tablet market.
Apple iPad 2 supply issues were highlighted last month when a run-on the product by unscrupulous resellers at an Apple store in Beijing led to violent clashes between shoppers and staff, leaving several people injured.
Friday’s explosion isn’t the first time Foxconn’s workplace standards have come into question.
Last year the company made headlines after revelations surfaced of poor working conditions at its factories in southern China, where a number of employees were known to have committed suicide. There were also reports of widespread industrial action in pursuit of higher wages.
Foxxcon had since moved to shift production from Southern to central China where wages remained relatively low.
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Issue: 316 | July 2013
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