Apple CEO visits Foxconn

By Kristin Bent on Mar 30, 2012 8:26 AM
Filed under Mobility

To stem copyright, worker abuse issues.

Apple CEO Tim Cook visited a Foxconn production plant in Zhengzhou, China on Wednesday after a wave of reports earlier this year alleged Foxconn-owned facilities use unjust labor practices when churning out Apple’s popular iPad and iPhone products.

Cook met with some of the 120,000 workers employed by the newly built plant, which is part of the Zhengzhou Technology Park in the north central province of Hebei, according to Reuters report.

Word of unlawful labor practices at Foxconn facilities began spreading earlier this year, fueled by a New York Times report that exposed the employment of underage workers, worker exposure to toxic chemicals, 60-hour work weeks, involuntary labor, and employee suicides.

In response, Apple announced in February the Fair Labor Association (FLA) will conduct a series of audits across its Foxconn factories in China. The FLA will interview thousands of employees, asking about working and living conditions, compensation, working hours, and communication with management, Apple said.

"We believe that workers everywhere have the right to a safe and fair work environment, which is why we’ve asked the FLA to independently assess the performance of our largest suppliers," Cook said in a statement.

Findings and recommendations from the FLA’s audits will be made publicly available on the association’s web site, Apple said.

iPad legal battle

But labor conditions no longer represent the whole of Apple’s woes with China. In fact, the Foxconn trip was part of a much larger agenda followed by Cook during his visit to the country this week.

The relationship between Apple and China – its second biggest market after the U.S. – is now being called into question because of a pending trademark battle between the Cupertino- based giant and Proview, a Chinese company that claims it owns the rights to the iPad name in mainland China.

Proview, which is a manufacturer of LCD computer displays, claims it registered the iPad trademark in China in 2000. Apple claims it bought the rights to the name from a Taiwanese company affiliated with Proview called Proview Taipei in 2009, but Proview claims rights in China were never part of the deal.

A Chinese court rejected Apple’s claim to the iPad name in December and awarded Proview continued ownership in the country. Apple has appealed the ruling, and the companies are now awaiting a verdict.

Proview in February extended the trademark case to the US, alleging Apple was dishonest about its intended use for the iPad name and promised it was not to be used for product branding.

Cook’s itinerary this week included a trip to Beijing, where he met with leaders including Mayor Guo Jinlong of Beijing and Vice Premier Li Keqiang, who promised Cook the country would strengthen its intellectual property rights, Reuters said.

"To be more open to the outside is a condition for China to transform its economic development, expand domestic demands and conduct technological innovation," Keqiang was quoted as saying in China’s Xinhua news.

This article originally appeared at crn.com

 
Follow us on Facebook and Twitter
 

Copyright © 2014 The Channel Company, LLC. All rights reserved.

Apple CEO visits Foxconn
 
 
 
 
 
Top Stories
Here's what the Dicker Data mega-merger means in dollars
Distie to report $200 million jump in revenue.
 
Office 365 hiring coup for Brisbane gold partner
Million-mailbox Microsoft migration expert goes channel.
 
 
Sign up to receive CRN email bulletins
   FOLLOW US...
Polls
Which mobile device couldn't you live without?


Latest Comments
CRN Magazine

Issue: 328 | June 2014

CRN Magazine looks in-depth at the emerging issues and developments for the channel, and provides insight, analysis and strategic information to help resellers better run their businesses.