By the numbers: How Foxconn churns out Apple's iPhone 5S

November 27, 2013: 11:17 AM ET

300,000 Foxconn employees working 24/7 assemble 500,000 iPhone 5S's per day.

Tim Cook, in yellow, visits a Foxconn facility in Henan Province, China, where iPhones are produced.

Tim Cook at a Foxconn iPhone factory.

FORTUNE -- Foxconn made headlines last week when it announced plans to build a $30 million factory in Pennsylvania that will create 300 American jobs within two years.

To put that in perspective, consider the stats the Wall Street Journal's Lorraine Luk rattled off Wednesday in her report on how Foxconn managed to shorten wait times for (AAPL) iPhone 5S from 2-3 weeks to 3-5 business days:

  • 1,000,000: Number of workers Foxconn employs in China
  • 100,000: Number of production lines it runs
  • 300,000: Number of people working exclusively on the iPhone 5S
  • 24 hours, 7 days a week: Foxconn's iPhone 5S factory runtime
  • 500,000: Daily iPhone 5S output from Foxconn's Zhengzhou site

Foxconn is the trade name of Taiwan-based Hon Hai, the world's largest electronics contract manufacturer. Apple is its biggest customer.

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    FORTUNE -- If something sounded familiar about Lorraine Luk's headline in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal -- As Apple Feels Bite, Hon Hai Looks to Diversify -- it may be because we've heard that tune a lot lately.

    Just in the past three weeks, journalists have attributed to Apple's (AAPL) loss of "steam" everything from Harvard's divestiture of a few hundred Apple shares to the structure of Sharp's survival plan. MORE

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  • Man who doesn't work for Foxconn kills self. Apple's fault?

    A suicide story that broke on Saturday had fallen apart by Monday.

    FORTUNE -- The Agence France Press headline that moved over the business wires Saturday morning seemed like deja vu all over again:

    Three new factory suicides at Apple supplier Foxconn

    Citing only a statement issued by China Labor Watch in New York, the news agency reported that the deaths occurred at a Foxconn factory in the central city of Zhengzhou and MORE

    - May 20, 2013 12:37 PM ET
  • A New York Times anti-Apple article swallows its own premise

    Once again, the paper twists itself into a pretzel to find the Apple-is-doomed angle.

    FORTUNE -- Readers who remember the New York Times' 2012 investigation of conditions in the Chinese factories that build iPads and iPhones for Apple (AAPL) -- the article that described Apple as "reprehensible" and "morally repugnant" -- may be surprised if they open Tuesday's business section and read this lead paragraph:

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  • How, exactly, do Apple's iPhone sales 'disappoint'?

    A Reuters headline has some Apple watchers scratching their heads.

    FORTUNE -- A Taipei-datelined Reuters story getting widely picked up Wednesday uses "disappointing" twice in six paragraphs to describe sales of Apple's (AAPL) iPhone.

    "Disappointing demand" for the iPhone between January and March is blamed for the 19% drop in the first-quarter revenue of Hon Hai, which assembles iPhones in its Foxconn factories.
    "Disappointing holiday sales" in the previous quarter are said to have "reinforced MORE

    - Apr 10, 2013 1:35 PM ET
  • Apple's $137 billion burns a hole in someone else's pockets

    A liberal think tank has a novel idea: Give some of that cash to Apple's workers

    FORTUNE -- The first paragraph of the commentary posted Wednesday on the website of the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal think tank founded by, among others, Clinton-era labor secretary Robert Reich, lays out the thrust of the argument pretty succinctly:

    "For more than a year, there has been a high-profile debate over what Apple should do MORE

    - Mar 20, 2013 12:20 PM ET
  • Apple may be to blame for Foxconn's hiring freeze after all

    But not because of slowing iPhone 5 sales, as had been reported

    FORTUNE -- Apple's (AAPL) battered shares took another hit Wednesday -- down $8.84, nearly 2%, for the day -- after the Financial Times attributed a hiring freeze at the Foxconn factories that assemble many of Apple's products to a slowdown in iPhone 5 production.

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    - Feb 21, 2013 6:42 AM ET
  • iPhone 5 video: SNL skit skewers Apple pundits

    Take that CNET! Gotcha Gizmodo!

    FORTUNE -- A little cultural relativism goes a long way when struggling with first-world problems -- like the flaws in Apple's (AAPL) new Maps app -- as Saturday Night Live comes to the iPhone 5's defense. Video now available on YouTube. Get it while you can.

    - Oct 15, 2012 7:03 AM ET
    Posted in: , ,
  • How to think about Foxconn

    The contract manufacturer has become a symbol for worker abuse, but the Apple partner isn't the only bad actor in China.

    By Bill Powell, editor-at-large

    FORTUNE -- Hon Hai Precision, a.k.a. Foxconn, has become synonymous with emblematic 21st-century workplace misery. In late September, worker brawls triggered riots at a Foxconn assembly plant in central China. From January to June in 2010, 14 workers at Foxconn's massive operation in Shenzhe -- a MORE

    - Oct 11, 2012 5:00 AM ET
    Posted in: , ,
  • Today in Tech: Amazon crafting iPhone competitor?

    How Amazon could tackle smartphones with one of its own; what it's like to live at a 'hacker hostel'

    Amazon's said to plan smartphone to vie with Apple [BLOOMBERG]

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    - Jul 6, 2012 9:45 AM ET
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