The Politics of Global Production: Apple, Foxconn and China's New Working Class

16 Pages Posted: 20 Jul 2013  

Jenny Chan

University of London - Royal Holloway College

Ngai Pun

Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Mark Selden

Cornell University

Date Written: July 2013

Abstract

Apple's commercial triumph rests in part on the outsourcing of its consumer electronics production to Asia. Drawing on extensive fieldwork at China's leading exporter - the Taiwanese‐owned Foxconn - the power dynamics of the buyer‐driven supply chain are analysed in the context of the national terrains that mediate or even accentuate global pressures. Power asymmetries assure the dominance of Apple in price setting and the timing of product delivery, resulting in intense pressures and illegal overtime for workers. Responding to the high‐pressure production regime, the young generation of Chinese rural migrant workers engages in a crescendo of individual and collective struggles to define their rights and defend their dignity in the face of combined corporate and state power.

Keywords: Foxconn, Apple, global supply chains, labour, China, outsourcing, consumer electronics manufacturing, collective actions

Suggested Citation

Chan, Jenny and Pun, Ngai and Selden, Mark, The Politics of Global Production: Apple, Foxconn and China's New Working Class (July 2013). New Technology, Work and Employment, Vol. 28, Issue 2, pp. 100-115, 2013. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2296287 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ntwe.12008

Jenny Chan (Contact Author)

University of London - Royal Holloway College ( email )

Senate House
Malet Street
London, TW20 0EX
United Kingdom

Ngai Pun

Hong Kong Polytechnic University ( email )

Hung Hom, Kowloon
Hong Kong

Mark Selden

Cornell University ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

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