How Are iPads Made: A Look Inside Foxconn’s Factory in Shenzhen

Foxconn’s lone hua factory campus in Shenzhen, China, is the place where nearly a quarter million people work, and iPads are made. The majority of workers are young migrant workers aged between 18 to 25 years who travel from different parts of China to work there and send money back home.

On the iPad production line, a supervisor gives workers their daily assignments. The first part of the assembly line is on the floor where workers assemble the iPad’s motherboard. Foxconn has recently introduced machines to do some of the work on the line. Workers rotate jobs every few days, and they start off making around $14 a day, which doubles after a few years.

Later on in the assembly line, the motherboard and other components are installed inside the iPad housing, and each step adds a new component. Some steps take just seconds to complete, and workers use machines to press the iPad battery into the housing. After the LED touchscreen display is installed, the iPad is nearly completed, but first, a machine tests the gyroscope used when playing video games. A few more screen tests, and the iPad is boxed up and sent to addresses throughout the developed world.

The work is tedious and monotonous, but hundreds of people still line up outside the factory to apply for jobs every day. On this particular day, 500 applicants arrived, many of them tired from travelling for days from their home village. The supply of labor is continuous, and one reason for that is that Foxconn is considered to be one of the best factories in China.

The company has invested millions of dollars in new amenities like athletic fields for its workers, and it pays them on time. However, more workers these days are leaving Shenzhen to return home to work. Foxconn has picked up on this trend and is now locating its newest factories in China’s interior, closer to where much of China’s labor supply comes from.