Apple's largest supplier, the FoxConn Technology group, has announced Friday it will raise wages by 16 to 25 per cent after criticism over its labour practices.

The factory's workers have seen three separate wage increases since 2010, and under the new agreement will now make 1,800 yuan ($290 US) a month, up from 900 yuan two years ago. 

FoxConn employs 1 million employees across China, in 4 separate factories, and makes electronics for most large tech companies including Microsoft and Nintendo as well as Apple.

Apple has been coming under criticism for the labour practices among its Chinese suppliers, and launched an audit of those suppliers earlier this week.

The Fair Labor Association began its first inspections Monday at Foxconn's factory in Shenzhen, China. That and other planned inspections are expected to include factories where 90 per cent of Apple devices undergo final assembly, Apple announced in a news release. However, the release did not mention factories that manufacture device components.

The FLA describes itself as a non-profit organization dedicated to ending sweatshop conditions in factories worldwide.

The findings and recommendations from the first inspections will be posted online in early March.

Apple's labour practices in China were targeted by online petitions. One such petition, entitled "Apple: Protecting workers making iPhones in Chinese factories", has collected 220,000 signatures. Mark Shields, a self-described Apple "super-user" who created the petition called the announcement "great steps in the right direction."

Shields also said he hopes the steps by FoxConn and Apple are "the early signs of a genuine commitment by Apple to make sure that their products are made without abusing worker rights."