Future Tense

Report: iPhone X Assembled With Illegal Student Labor

Foxconn is Apple’s primary supplier in Asia. 

STR/AFP/Getty Images

Foxconn, Apple’s primary supplier in Asia, allegedly hired 3,000 high school students in Zhengzhou, China, to assemble the iPhone X for up to 11 hours a day, according to a report by the Financial Times. These hours violate China’s overtime law, which only allows students to work 40 hours per week.

The Financial Times interviewed six students, aged 17 to 19, who claim that the Zhengzhou Urban Rail Transit School is forcing them to work at the factory for three months in order to fulfill the “work experience” requirement to graduate. An 18-year-old student told reporters that she has to assembled as many as 1,200 iPhone cameras in a single day.


The high school refused to comment, and China’s education ministry could not be reached by Times reporters. However, Apple conducted an audit and told the publication, “We’ve confirmed the students worked voluntarily, were compensated and provided benefits, but they should not have been allowed to work overtime.” Foxconn also said “all work was voluntary and compensated appropriately, [but] the interns did work overtime in violation of our policy” for a 40-hour cap.

The Zhengzhou plant hires hundreds of thousands of seasonal workers to compensate for the upswing of production orders from August to December. Manufacturing for the iPhone X has been floundering, and Apple is still trying to catch up with the demand.

Foxconn’s services constructing devices for Apple also underwent intense scrutiny in 2010, when 14 employees committed suicide after allegedly being subjected to overly demanding work schedules, verbal abuse, and poor living conditions.