Dying for an iPhone: Apple, Foxconn, and the Lives of China’s Workers


Dying for an iPhone: Apple, Foxconn, and the Lives of China’s Workers


Suicides, excessive overtime, hostility, and violence are common on the factory floor in China. Drawing on vivid testimonies from rural migrant workers, student interns, managers, and trade union staff, Dying for an iPhone is a devastating expose of two of the world’s most powerful companies: Foxconn and Apple. As the leading manufacturer of iPhones, iPads, and Kindles, and employing one million workers in China alone, Taiwanese-invested Foxconn’s drive to dominate global electronics manufacturing has aligned perfectly with China’s goal of becoming the world leader in technology. In this book talk, Dr. Jenny Chan revealed the human cost of that ambition and what our demands for the newest and best technology means for workers. Foxconn workers have repeatedly demonstrated their power to strike at key nodes of transnational production, challenge management and the Chinese state, and confront global tech behemoths. Dying for an iPhone allows us to assess the impact of global capitalism’s deepening crisis on workers.


Jenny Chan (Ph.D. 2014) is an assistant professor of sociology at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and a recipient of Early Career Scheme funding (2018-2020) awarded by the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong (RGC ref. 25602517). She is the vice president of the International Sociological Association’s Research Committee on Labor Movements (2018-2022). Dying for an iPhone: Apple, Foxconn and the Lives of China’s Workers is her first co-authored book with Mark Selden and Pun Ngai (forthcoming, Haymarket Books & Pluto Press). She also co-edited a special issue of Critical Sociology (July 2019) entitled “Precarization and Labor Resistance” with Chris Rhomberg and Manjusha Nair.