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Geopolitics

China's 'Apple City' - Assembling iPhones In The Urban Shadows

Employees who toil long hours for low wages at the Chinese factories that assemble the iPhone are part of the dark side of the country's rush to urbanization.

Zhengzhou, aka "Apple City"
Zhengzhou, aka "Apple City"
Brice Pedroletti

ZHENGZHOU — “Apple City,” where the Foxconn factories build the iPhone and other products for California-based Apple, is a strange new town, a patchwork of defaced countryside and overpopulated urban areas on the outskirts of southern Zhengzhou.

When the Taiwanese company Foxconn’s factories and their 300,000 workers established themselves here in the capital of the Henan province two years ago, the area was deeply disrupted by a chaotic urban boom. Some villages were destroyed, others were pierced by four-lane avenues, and corn fields are still surrounded by contruction sites.

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Mariateresa Fichele

Fifteen years ago, Francesco kept busy by scamming people. He was a regular visitor to the beaches of Terracina, south of Rome, where he was caught several times selling counterfeit Ray-Ban sunglasses. Then came the drugs, which fed a serious substance-induced psychosis and eventually he tested positive for HIV.

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