The Foxconn fortress has been breached.
For the first time ever, the manufacturer, which is a supplier to Apple and a slew of other tech companies, opened its doors to a journalist, and on Tuesday evening "Nightline" aired a special segment in which anchor Bill Weir took viewers inside the mysterious "iFactory" to see Apple gadgets being assembled.
The Foxconn depicted in the segment was in many ways what viewers probably expected after weeks of news coverage of the working conditions at the huge gadget manufacturer, which builds tech toys for Intel, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, and Nintendo, as well as Apple. There were the rows upon rows of uniformed employees meticulously assembling iPads. There were the young workers lining up by the thousands to get a chance to make iGadgets for $1.78 an hour. There were the suicide nets hanging ominously between the buildings.
But in other ways the piece revealed aspects of China's factory life that viewers may never have seen before: rows of employees taking a quick after-lunch nap at their work tables; people in a village saying that life had improved since young people had left for the factory; the spartan dorm rooms where the workers spend much of their non-working lives; and more.