Foxconn has put some of its new production plants to work for Apple, despite previously denying it would use them for iPad production and despite Foxconn’s increasingly negative image impacting on how people view the iPhone creator.
Several new plants at Chengdu in China have begun mass production of iPad parts for Apple, increasing manufacturing capacity by roughly 10,000 units a day, adding to the 2.5 million units Foxconn’s main production site at Shenzhen can produce each month.
The news comes in the face of denials from Foxconn that it would be using the Chengdu facilities for iPad production. Other component manufacturers were able to confirm that Foxconn was indeed using the new plants for Apple and that there were plans to make the site a major supply base in the first quarter of 2011, according to Digitimes.
In fact, these anonymous sources suggested that many more plants would be opened up to work on Apple product parts, perhaps in anticipation of the much-rumoured iPad successor, which some believe will launch early next year.
It is thought that Foxconn intends to establish 50 production lines at the Chengdu plants, allowing a maximum annual capacity of 40 million units which would make Chengdu a larger base of operations for Apple than the current hub at Shenzhen.
Foxconn, which is also known as Hon Hai Precision Industry, has had a series of PR disasters over the last year, with multiple suicides and poor working conditions marring its image. It has also had a major effect on the major companies that use Foxconn to make their parts, such as Apple, HP, and Dell.
All of these companies launched investigations into the mistreatment of employees at Foxconn, but not much has come from it.
The fact that Apple is ramping up production at Foxconn suggests it is more concerned with pumping out profitable iPads than with the welfare of those underpaid workers who make them, but that’s no real shocker for big business.