David Barboza of The New York Times has an in-depth look at Zhengzhou, a Chinese city of six million residents with a Foxconn factory that can build 500,000 iPhones a day. Apple’s presence in Zhengzhou is so large that it's called ‘iPhone City.’
The scale of Foxconn’s factory is immense:
[Workers] file steadily into dozens of factory sites, spread out across 2.2 square miles. At the peak, some 350,000 workers assemble, test and package iPhones — up to 350 a minute.
Based on extensive research that included over 100 interviews and the review of confidential Chinese government records regarding incentives received by Foxconn, The New York Times breaks down iPhone City’s stakeholders concluding that:
As China and the United States both brandish a new form of economic nationalism, they risk disrupting the system, without necessarily achieving their goals.
iPhone City is a complex system that developed over several years and involves economic incentives provided to Foxconn by local and national Chinese governments, intricate tax strategies that lower Apple’s costs, and a state recruited and trained labor force. We’ve had peeks at the enormity of Foxconn’s iPhone factory in the past, but Barboza goes further, with an excellent explanation of how interconnected each piece is.