June 18, 2024

Fatal Blast and Fire Halt Work at Chinese Plant That Makes iPads

An explosion and fire at a plant that makes Apple and Dell products in China killed two people and injured 16 and brought production to a halt, a spokesman for the plant said.

The plant was operated by the Foxconn Technology Group, maker of Apple’s iPhone and Dell computers, in southwest China’s Sichuan province.

Brian White, an analyst at Ticonderoga Securities, told Reuters that the factory made a large quantity of iPads.

The blast, on Foxconn’s Chengdu campus, occurred about 7 p.m. local time on Friday, Edmund Ding, a company spokesman, wrote in an e-mail. The fire department had the incident under control, and the company was cooperating with an investigation and contacting the families of affected workers, he said.

“The company has halted production at the site of the explosion until the investigation is complete,” Mr. Ding wrote. In earlier phone interviews, Mr. Ding said that he could not comment on what products were made at the plant and that the company was still assessing the effect on production.

Foxconn has been shifting production to Chengdu and other interior cities in China like Wuhan and Chongqing, where labor is about a third cheaper than in the country’s south. The plant where the explosion took place, a $2 billion laptop factory, opened in October, Xinhua, the Chinese state news agency, said.

“We are working closely with Foxconn at this point to understand what caused this terrible event,” Steve Dowling, a spokesman for Apple, said in a phone interview on Friday. ”We are deeply saddened by the tragedy.”

Mr. Dowling declined to comment on any possible supply disruptions, referring questions to Foxconn.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/21/technology/21foxconn.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

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