An internal audit conducted by Apple discovered that 106 children employed at 11 factories were making some of its products in the past year.
Apple's annual supplier report which monitors nearly 400 suppliers found that children were employed at 11 factories involved in making its products. A number of them had been recruited using forged identity papers.
The report uncovered a catalogue of other offences, ranging from mandatory pregnancy tests, to bonded workers whose wages are confiscated to pay off debts imposed by recruitment agencies. They also found cases of juveniles being used to lift heavy goods, workers having their wages docked as a punishment and one factory dumping waste oil in the toilets.
News of the internal audit comes amid Apple losing its status to Exxon Mobil Corp. as that of the world's most valuable company.
Apples 12-month reign as the No. 1 stock ended after the shares slumped 17 percent this year, worse than any other companies in the benchmark gauge for U.S. equities. The decline reduced its market capitalization to $413 billion, below Exxon Mobils $418 billion.
The switch in rankings reflected fading confidence in Apple, whose 15 years of transformation from a near-bankrupt personal-computer maker to a technology leader dominating the smartphone and tablet market helped it become the most valuable U.S. company ever in 2012. Apple shares have fallen by 37 percent from a record in September amid concern that mounting costs and competition may curtail growth.
You have one company that had pretty high expectations for it for the future and you have Exxon that continues to chip away slow and steady, Jason Cooper, who helps oversee $2.5 billion in South Bend, Indiana, at 1st Source Investment Advisors, said in a phone interview. His firm owns both Apple and Exxon shares. People are coming to the realization that Apple is losing a little bit of gloss and shine.
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