×

Apple Confirms Chinese Students Illegally Worked Overtime at iPhone X Factory

High-school students hired to assemble iPhone X devices by Apple manufacturing partner Foxconn — rushing to meet holiday demand for the new smartphone — illegally worked overtime hours at a plant in China, Apple has acknowledged.

According to a report Tuesday by the Financial Times, at least six students from a group of 3,000 from a vocational school sent to work at the iPhone X factory in Zhengzhou, China, said they worked 11-hour days, in violation of local labor laws barring students from working more than 40 hours per week.

In a statement, Apple said, “During the course of a recent audit, we discovered instances of student interns working overtime at a supplier facility in China. We’ve confirmed the students worked voluntarily, were compensated and provided benefits, but they should not have been allowed to work overtime.”

The tech company also said, “Apple is dedicated to ensuring everyone in our supply chain is treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. We know our work is never done and we’ll continue to do all we can to make a positive impact and protect workers in our supply chain.”

The iPhone is Apple’s most critical product line, representing 55% of revenue for the quarter ended Sept. 30. The company beat Wall Street forecasts for the period thanks to a bump in iPhone sales.

Apple said demand for the iPhone X, which began shipping this month, was “off the charts” but according to several reports it was forced to cut the expected number of units produced in 2017 by as much as half. The iPhone X — priced starting at $1,000, it’s Apple’s most expensive smartphone ever — has a nearly full edge-to-edge 5.8-inch screen, an advanced camera system, and a new facial-recognition feature used to unlock the device.

“We couldn’t be more excited as we begin to deliver our vision for the future with this stunning device,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said about the iPhone X (with the “X” pronounced “ten”) on the company’s quarterly earnings call.

Apple and its suppliers have come under fire multiple times in past years for mistreatment of workers at Chinese manufacturing facilities, with reports of overcrowded factory dorms and excessive labor hours.

In 2010, Foxconn experienced a wave of suicides and suicide attempts among its workforce, and in 2011 an explosion at Foxconn’s iPad plant in Chengdu, China, killed four people. In 2014, a BBC investigative report found Apple’s standards for protecting workers at Chinese facilities were being violated.

Pictured above: An ad for the iPhone X in Beijing, where the smartphone went on sale Nov. 3.

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • Ann Sarnoff Warner Bros

    Ann Sarnoff Formally Takes Reins of Warner Bros. as CEO

    The Ann Sarnoff era at Warner Bros. has begun. Sarnoff formally took the reins as Warner Bros. chair-CEO on Thursday, two months after she was appointed to the post. Sarnoff told employees in a memo that she has been impressed by the company’s track record during the past year amid a period of upheaval for [...]

  • YouTube TV Adds Subscription Options for

    YouTube TV Adds Subscription Options for AMC Networks' Acorn TV, UMC

    Google’s YouTube TV now offers two more add-on channels to subscribers, under an expanded pact with AMC Networks: British TV service Acorn TV and UMC (Urban Movie Channel), which features a selection of black TV and film titles. Acorn TV’s add-on channel is now available via YouTube TV for $6 per month and UMC is [...]

  • homepod-white-shelf

    Apple Said to Prep Cheaper HomePod for 2020

    Apple is getting ready to introduce a cheaper version of its HomePod smart speaker in 2020, Bloomberg reported Thursday. The company is also working on a new version of its AirPod headphones for next year, according to Bloomberg. Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. The new version of the HomePod is said [...]

  • Eminem’s Publisher Sues Spotify, Claiming Copyright

    Eminem’s Publisher Sues Spotify, Claiming Massive Copyright Infringement

    Eminem’s publishing company Eight Mile Style filed a major copyright infringement lawsuit against Spotify late Thursday, claiming that the streaming giant has no license to host about 250 of Eminem’s songs, while also taking aim at the Music Modernization Act, the federal law enacted last year to improve royalty payments for songwriters. The news was [...]

  • iQIYI headquarters building in Beijing

    China’s iQIYI in Talks for Indonesia Expansion

    Chinese streaming firm iQIYI is in negotiations to expand further into Southeast Asia through a venture with Indonesia’s Media Nusantara Citra. iQIYI announced its first step outside Chinese-majority territories in June, when it revealed a linkup in Malaysia with pay-TV leader Astro. It also operates in Taiwan. In April, the company said that it planned [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content