Inside Foxconn #5: Food

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Previously in the series, #1, #2, #3, #4.

Here's the context, as a reminder: These are snapshots from a day last week that I spent inside the (notorious) Foxconn Longhua campus, in Shenzhen, China. That is where some 220,000 workers produce many of the electronic goods you have around you right now.

Lunchtime in the main "canteen" at Longhua. This is a blurry shot, but you'll see what interested me: No uniforms on the employees. These are assembly-line workers on lunch break. They are eating in a sort of "multi-purpose room," as in public high school: the stage, in the background, was set up for a band concert.

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Lunch line in the same building. A company official told me, "Our priorities for the food are: Number 1 Safety, Number 2 Cleanliness, Number 3 Nutrition, and Number 4 Taste. Sometimes the employees really care only about Taste." 

I don't know the story about the mark on this guy's head.


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Market forces at work. There is a kind of food-court aspect to this cafeteria. You can see the big lines behind the noodle stand, at the far left, rather than whatever is being offered in the center.

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Drinks. I think these drinks were 1RMB, or about 15 cents, apiece.

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Planning
. A woman showing me a model of the industrial-scale kitchen that produces some 30,000 meals three (or perhaps four) times a day.

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More market forces. A bakery, a branch of a popular Chinese chain, outside the main cafeteria.

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I report, you decide. More to come.

Also, eventually I'll talk about some reactions to these pictures, pro and con. For now I recommend Brian Glucroft's site Isidor's Fugue, which has long featured evocative realities-of-daily-life photos from China.
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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.
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