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Foxconn Technology Probes Blast, Fire at China’s Chengdu Plant

Foxconn Technology Group, maker of Apple Inc.’s iPhones and iPads, is investigating the cause of an explosion and fire at its plant in southwest China’s Sichuan province that killed two people and injured 16.

“We have begun investigation for the unfortunate incident,” Edmund Ding, a company spokesman, said by phone today. “We will brief the public as soon as we have new findings.”

The blast on Foxconn’s Chengdu campus occurred at about 7 p.m. local time yesterday, and the fire was extinguished late last night, Ding said. He declined to say what products the factory makes or estimate financial loss related to the accident.

Terry Gou, chairman of Taiwan-based Foxconn, has been shifting production to Chengdu and other interior cities in China such as Wuhan and Chongqing, where labor is about one-third cheaper than in the country’s south. The $2 billion laptop plant where the explosion took place opened in October, Xinhua reported yesterday.

The affected plant makes Apple’s iPad2 tablet computers, the Economic Observer said on its website yesterday, citing unidentified company workers. Gou is flying to Chengdu, the Beijing-based newspaper said, citing unidentified company employees.

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

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

Police in Chengdu said they concluded preliminarily that the explosion, in a polishing workshop, wasn’t intentionally caused, China News Service said.

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