Apple plans to improve work conditions at its iPhone and iPad-assembling Chinese factories, and Foxconn executives announced today that it would share the initial price of that venture with the Cupertino, Calif.-based Company. According to Reuters:

  • Foxconn chief Terry Gou did not give a figure for the costs, but the group has been spending heavily to fight a perception its vast plants in China are sweatshops with poor conditions for its million-strong labor force. It regards the criticism as unfair.
  • ‘We’ve discovered that this (improving factory conditions) is not a cost. It is a competitive strength,’ Gou told reporters on Thursday after the ground-breaking ceremony for a new China headquarters in Shanghai.
  • ‘I believe Apple sees this as a competitive strength along with us, and so we will split the initial costs.’
  • It was unclear if the split would be 50/50 or in some other ratio.

Apple and Foxconn began bettering conditions for workers earlier this year by raising wages in mid-February from 16 percent to 25 percent, and then they hired thousands of new laborers the next month to reduce overtime in the factories.

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