Daily Archives: May 1, 2017

Student who worked in Chinese iPhone factory explains why manufacturing jobs aren’t coming back to the U.S.

  • NYU Wagner student Dejian Zeng spent last summer building iPhones for Pegatron
  • Zeng’s trip was organized by NYU and China Labor Watch
  • Zeng said he doesn’t think it’ll be possible to manufacture iPhones by hand in the US

It’s going to take a lot more than concrete and machines to manufacture iPhones in the U.S.

CNBC recently spoke with Dejian Zeng, a graduate student at NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service, who spent last summer working undercover building iPhones at Pegatron, one of Apple’s manufacturing partners.

After returning from the trip, which was organized by NYU and China’s Labor Watch, Zeng said he’s convinced that U.S. workers aren’t going to be shuffling into factories to build iPhones any time soon.

How exactly does a student at a prestigious U.S. university end up in China, sitting quietly on a stool, inserting parts into iPhones, one by one?

Zeng walked CNBC through his decision to spend six weeks in a factory working 12 hours shifts Monday through Saturday, mostly during the night, and what he discovered along the way.

This NYU grad student went undercover at an Apple factory in China

This NYU grad student went undercover at an Apple factory in China  Friday, 28 Apr 2017 | 3:34 PM ET | 05:08

It’s going to take a lot more than concrete and machines to manufacture iPhones in the U.S.

CNBC recently spoke with Dejian Zeng, a graduate student at NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service, who spent last summer working undercover building iPhones at Pegatron, one of Apple’s manufacturing partners.

CNBC: Dejian Zeng

CNBC: TJ Fabian

After returning from the trip, which was organized by NYU and China’s Labor Watch, Zeng said he’s convinced that U.S. workers aren’t going to be shuffling into factories to build iPhones any time soon.

How exactly does a student at a prestigious U.S. university end up in China, sitting quietly on a stool, inserting parts into iPhones, one by one?

Zeng walked CNBC through his decision to spend six weeks in a factory working 12 hours shifts Monday through Saturday, mostly during the night, and what he discovered along the way.

One Time Use: Pegatron Classroom

Dejian Zeng

“I just showed up”

It turns out getting into an iPhone factory isn’t that hard.

“They just gave me the address of the factory and I just went. I just showed up. When I was there I saw people holding luggage waiting in a long line, so I just stood in the line,” Zeng told CNBC in an interview.

“When it was my turn they asked for my ID, asked to see my hand and asked me to recite the English alphabet. I got in after that. It took less than 30 seconds. You don’t have to apply or have any skills.”

Read on.

Advertisements