iPhone City in Zhengzhou

Foxconn and millions who work at Apple's many suppliers make their homes in Zhengzhou, a place many in China call iPhone City.
January 12, 2017, 11am PST | Casey Brazeal | @northandclark
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When it's running at maximum efficiency, a half million phones originate each day from one place, "Zhengzhou, a city of six million people in an impoverished region of China," according to reporting from David Barboza in The New York Times. This industry was built with wide-reaching cooperation from local government, which has given out 1.5 billion dollars to support the operation, building large parts of the factory and housing for Foxconn's workers, among other projects intended to support the export of Apple's phones.

Apple is not alone in benefitting from Chinese subsidies: Dell, Samsung, and many other multinationals have production facilities in the country. "While Apple came later than many technology companies, it now generates nearly a quarter of its revenues from sales in China and has some of the fattest profit margins in the business," Barboza writes. Costs are kept down in part by government subsidies, information about which is kept secret. "As China’s largest private employer, Foxconn, a Taiwanese company, has enormous leverage in the negotiations for those incentives," Barboza reports.

Support for this kind of arrangement may be waning in both the China and the United States. China's President Xi Jinping and Incoming American President-elect Donald Trump have both stated their discomfort with globalism, threatening tariffs and other anti-trade legislation. 

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Published on Thursday, December 29, 2016 in The New York Times
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