Sunday, October 1, 2023

That’s the depressing reality of a phone factory

Oppo’s factory is located in a city in southeast China called Dongguan. It takes an hour to drive from central Shenzhen and the best way to get there is by truck, from where one can see a stark contrast between the economic activities that both cities support.

On the one hand, Shenzhen is home to the headquarters of all types of companies, with technology companies such as Oppo standing out, as well as other skyscrapers that house employees from Alibaba, Baidu, Lenovo or Hisense, among others. On the other hand, Dongguan is considered the factory of the world.

In this city of just over 8.3 million people, there are more than 10,000 factories owned by companies with a strong focus on technology and electronics, such as Oppo, Samsung, Huawei or Nikon, showing their strong commitment to foreign direct investment.

Here, as in other parts of China, factories are becoming small towns as workers have residential areas in which to live and have all manner of facilities from recreation and exercise areas to cafeterias to their rooms in which to work can rest.

Such organizations pose no problem for the Chinese government as long as they comply with strict labor laws, says a source familiar with the matter, who prefers anonymity.

“The government makes sure that companies do not abuse their workers,” he mentions, stating that all companies must maintain a standard of living for their employees, who are informed that they will be provided with everything from groceries to while they are working at the company to food Recreational facilities such as fitness studios and playing fields for various sports seem to be attractive to them.

However, these types of factories were not far from controversy. In November last year, Foxconn’s Zhengzhou plant became one of the key venues of the tech year, registering violent protests by employees complaining about the working conditions they found themselves in.

During this period, the company, which acts as a production partner for Apple’s iPhones, experienced one of the most critical moments due to layoffs, non-payment of workers’ wages, as well as the strict measures that the government was still implementing at the time. So to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.

Some media reported that the situation for the workers was so bad that many of them could not return to their homes – which were not even close to the factories – and chose to sleep on the floor or in areas not connected to the Living were suitable, but only with to be able to continue working.

“I can’t tell if (the workers) are happy or not,” he concludes. “That’s how they built their lives. If they had another option they might take it, but many of them may lack the skills for other types of jobs and so they choose factories.”

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Desk
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