The politics of global production: Apple, Foxconn and China's new working class


  • Jenny Chan,

  • Ngai Pun,

  • Mark Selden

  • The authors have jointly written a book entitled Separate Dreams: Apple, Foxconn and a New Generation of Chinese Workers (Ngai Pun, Jenny Chan and Mark Selden, forthcoming).


Apple's commercial triumph rests in part on the outsourcing of its consumer electronics production to Asia. Drawing on extensive fieldwork at China's leading exporter—the Taiwanese-owned Foxconn—the power dynamics of the buyer-driven supply chain are analysed in the context of the national terrains that mediate or even accentuate global pressures. Power asymmetries assure the dominance of Apple in price setting and the timing of product delivery, resulting in intense pressures and illegal overtime for workers. Responding to the high-pressure production regime, the young generation of Chinese rural migrant workers engages in a crescendo of individual and collective struggles to define their rights and defend their dignity in the face of combined corporate and state power.