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Wednesday, August 3, 2011 - In China, Apple Is "Like The Communist Party" - In China, Apple Is "Like The Communist Party"

Apple's secrecy means people get hurt. Foreign Policy tells the heart-rending story of a worker at an Apple supplier, Wintek, who has neurological damage because of a chemical used on iPhone screens. He says he can't work, and has to pay his medical expenses out of pocket even though Apple says it is making sure affected workers recover. The broader problem is that Apple's opaqueness about its supply chain makes it sure that problems happen. For example, it's near impossible for NGOs to check that it's doing what it says it's doing in terms of working standards. And it's not an extravagant claim: Chinese suppliers cut corners all the time and many Western companies agree it's in their own interests to have third parties check up on them. Siemens, for example, provides a database of its suppliers to NGOs so they can check up on them. The story quotes a supply chain consultant as saying Apple is the only company with billions in cash that "[continues to work] with suppliers who have a clear record of failure to comply with Apple's own codes of conduct."

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