The reasons for the sudden spate of suicides remain unclear. However, the military-style working regime at Foxconn's Longhua plant, in which more than 300,000 people work, has been heavily criticised.
Workers are forbidden to talk on the production line, even in their short breaks, and many have complained of feeling lonely and alienated inside the giant factory.
In addition, the enormous demand for some products – including the 2m unit-selling iPad – appears to have placed an intolerable strain on Foxconn workers, who are quitting the Longhua factory at the rate of 15,000 a month.
Yet the number out of context is meaningless. The first question journalists should ask is: how does this suicide rate compare with non-workers? Bloomberg Business Week thought to ask:
But among the flurry of reports about Foxconn in the international media, one thing appears to have been missed: The suicide rate among the company's workers is well below the national average.
Between 2000 and 2006, China averaged 15.05 suicide-related deaths per 100,000 people in the country, according to a Nov. 2008 research paper published in The Lancet medical journal. The 10 deaths so far this year at Foxconn put it far below the national average considering it employs over 540,000 workers in China.