Employee Death At Foxconn Makes 10 Suicides In 20108:48 AM EST Tue. May. 25, 2010
What is happening at Foxconn? Another worker for the world's largest contract electronics manufacturer fell to his death Tuesday, bringing the number of Foxconn employees who have committed suicide this year to 10.
Li Hai, 19, worked at Foxconn for just 42 days before his death, according to Chinese state-run media. Late last week, another Foxconn employee, Nan Gang, 21, jumped to his death from a four-story building, also located Foxconn's sprawling compound in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen.
Two Foxconn workers have survived similar falls this year, while an additional eight did not. Foxconn, maker of the iPhone, iPad, iPod and Mac Mini for Apple, has said it will "stabilize the situation soon" and has established "employee care centers" with psychological counseling available to its workers in Shenzhen.
Some theorize that a copycat phenomenon -- also named a "Werther Effect" after the protagonist in Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's "The Sorrows of Young Werther" -- is in full swing at Foxconn. Suicide contagions have reportedly occurred in several parts of the world following a highly publicized initial suicide.
The first suicide at Foxconn to garner major media attention happened in July 2009, when a worker who had been questioned about a missing fouth-generation iPhone prototype jumped to his death. Sun Danyong, 25, had reportedly been responsible for shipping 16 iPhone prototype units but one went missing.
In addition to its contract work for Apple, Foxconn manufactures Intel-branded motherboards, the Amazon Kindle and components for Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft game consoles, as well as various computer and electronics products for such companies as Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Motorola and Cisco.