Internships suck. You do menial work for token payment (or none), all in the name of experience. At Foxconn, it's about the same — but you great free housing and more money.
Motherboard relays the research of Ross Perlin, author of Intern Nation, which chronicles the life and times of Foxconn's interns. And holy god, there are a lot of them:
Foxconn says it relies on as many as 180,000 interns during the summer months to fulfil the needs of the voracious beast of Western gadget demand - and the requirements of companies like Apple, Amazon, HP and nearly every other major electronics brand. The Hong Kong-based Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM), a longtime critic of Foxconn, estimates the number is much higher, and that interns have at times made up as much as a third of the company's 1.3-million-strong workforce, or 430,000 interns.
430,000 interns! Gizmodo, by comparison, has two at the moment. One of them isn't even here today. Now yes, the internships are allegedly "factory labour by poor students" and is forced upon these kids by threats of university expulsion. But! Let's turn our attention back westward.
In the US, if you want the best shot at a white collar job, the internship has become requisite. Say you want to work at a magazine. This entails relocating to New York, finding housing for an entire summer, paying for your existence in New York, and then doing drudgery for a likely arsehole during hot months — the only interesting task I remember from my last internship involved taking a giant guitar to the Post Office. I don't remember why.
And the entire western internship racket presumes you even get the gig — you'll be competing against every other aspiring ________ in the nation with the luxury of working for peanuts or free all summer. It's a largely screwed up, possibly illegal system that puts the majority of American students at a disadvantage because their parents won't pay for them to be bourgeois slaves.
Now back to China. Factory labour under inhuman condition is unforgivable. But! Foxconn interns are said to earn half of what fulltime employees make (you won't find that in America!), are provided free housing, and "cheap prostitutes tend to set up shop just outside the factories." It could always be worse. [Motherboard]