We have all heard the many horror stories about the insides of mobile device factories including talks of high suicide rates, dangerous conditions and poor wages. Foxconn in particular has come under fire over the last few years for its factory conditions, though it’s far from the only facility to have ran into troubles.
Turning to Samsung, just last month there was report of a worker in an R&D facility in Suwon, Korea that died after a leak of hydrofluoric acid gas. There were also four others that were hospitalized as a result of the same incident. Earlier this year there was even a riot at a Samsung factory in Vietnam due to an altercation between construction workers and the factory’s security guards.
Between all this bad news, you’d think that every mobile manufacturing plant would offer the same crowded, grueling conditions. Thankfully, this isn’t always the case. Over the weekend, Business Insider published an article about Steve Kovach’s tour inside of Samsung’s mobile device factory in Gumi, South Korea. During the tour, Kovach noted that the facility looked more like a college campus than a factory, thanks in large part to its attractive outdoor recreational areas. Notably the insides were also clean and well kept.
As for the workers within the facility? Kovach says that most of the workers he spotted where younger women, in their late teens and into the mid-twenties. Kovach’s Samsung guide further clarified that most of the workers start at the company right out of high school, particularly those that are unable to attend college for whatever reason.
The majority of these employees depart from the factory when they are ready to start a family, but Samsung says it offers college courses at night for employees who wish to advance their education and potentially go up-the-ladder in the company.
The biggest takeaway is that while many factories across the world do in fact have poor conditions, it’s not necessarily something you’ll find universally wherever you go. Furthermore, public attention towards poor conditions will only serve to better improve the situation globally.
Here’s to hoping that the factory seen in the images above soon becomes more representative of all smartphone factories across the globe — rather than the darker, gritter images we’ve seen of other facilities in the past.