"50,000 people used to work here, now it's a ghost town" — While Apple moves its iPhone production, Foxconn facilities are left abandoned in eerie video

Foxconn abandoned facility Nanning
(Image credit: China Observer)

Over the last few years, Apple has been shifting production of its iPhones to different territories, where previously it has traditionally been made in China. Now we’re starting to see the effect, as a new report shows us what happens when Apple and Foxconn leave an area that was traditionally propped up by iPhone production and the employment it brought.

In a strangely unsettling new video of one of Foxconn’s industrial parks uploaded to the China Observer, you can see how the exodus has affected not just the factory itself, but the surrounding area as well.

"This town, is coming like a ghost town"

According to the report, “The Foxconn plant in Nanning once required massive daily resources, including 60 tons of rice, 280 pigs, 1.2 million eggs, and 80,000 chickens to cater to its workforce. Its dining hall could accommodate 12,000 workers at a time, and the facility employed 50,000 people.”

The footage itself pans over the factory, showing bare streets, empty factories, and deserted housing. It’s a reminder of how Apple has a massive effect on the areas it chooses to build its technology. Interestingly, the report says that this particular factory wasn’t one of Foxconn’s main factories, “which is now nearly empty”.

Apple and Foxconn have moved a great deal of production to Vietnam, which is why areas like this are being left abandoned. Living quarters in the Nanning area have been left discounted to encourage people to move in, while the main highstreet is completely deserted — while the new factories in other areas might encourage similar growth where they end up, there is perhaps some responsibility on the part of companies like Apple and Foxconn upon leaving a city to its own devices when they up and leave.

The latest best iPhones, including Apple’s upcoming iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Pro, are still going to be made predominantly in China, although there will be an increasing number made in India, Vietnam, and other spots.

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Tammy Rogers
Senior Staff Writer

As iMore's Senior Staff writer, Tammy uses her background in audio and Masters in screenwriting to pen engaging product reviews and informative buying guides. The resident audiophile (or audio weirdo), she's got an eye for detail and a love of top-quality sound. Apple is her bread and butter, with attention on HomeKit and Apple iPhone and Mac hardware. You won't find her far away from a keyboard even outside of working at iMore – in her spare time, she spends her free time writing feature-length and TV screenplays. Also known to enjoy driving digital cars around virtual circuits, to varying degrees of success. Just don't ask her about AirPods Max - you probably won't like her answer.