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Comments come two years after he called employees unruly "animals" and comparing himself to a cattlemaster

Terry Gou, 63 -- the CEO and major shareholder of Hon Hai Precision Industry Comp, Ltd. (TPE:2317) -- is making headlines again for interesting comments he made at his company's annual shareholders’ meeting.
 
I. Mission to Replace Migrant Workers With Machines is Moving Ahead
 
At one point he dropped a hint that Hon Hai's massive subsidiary Foxconn may have completed work on an automated plant for its top consumer electronics client, Apple, Inc. (AAPL).  The factory lies in Chengudu, China he says, elaborating:
 
We haven’t talked much about the factory, but it’s manufacturing a product from a very famous company.
 
Foxconn also makes motherboards and laptops for most major PC OEMs, with orders of several million for most of the world's top PC makers.  It also manufactures all of the current generation of video game consoles and Amazon.com, Inc.'s (AMZN) Kindle eReaders/tablets.
 
Foxconn RobotFoxconn's new robots are seeing signs of success. [Image Source: AFP/News9]

But it seems likely that Apple would get first privilege at Foxconn's new automated assembly line for a number of reasons.  As the primary manufacturer of the roughly 60 million iOS devices Apple sold in Q1, Apple is likely far and away Foxconn's largest client, with annual device orders approaching a quarter billion units.
 
Apple is also one of the most demanding clients, as it is always trying to squeeze its manufacturers' to lower costs, while demanding some of the industry's most challenging smartphone assembly techniques and an uncompromising level of secrecy.  That makes robots particularly attractive as they never ask for raises or leak prototypes of your upcoming product designs.
 
Foxconn Chairman
Foxconn CEO Terry Gou

If Apple is the recipient of the new factory, it could be a rather interesting relationship as Foxconn's robotics effort is backed by a key alliance with Apple's nemesis, Google Inc. (GOOG).  After initially struggling in its automation bid, it appears that Foxconn is finally turning the corner.  Foxconn's latest robots -- enhanced by Google's growing robotics prowess -- are being manufactured in-house at a rate of roughly 30,000 robots per year.  For now, Foxconn is closely holding these robotic workers.  Mr. Guo comments:
 
We don’t sell them, because we don’t have enough for our own use yet.
 
Some are less than happy with the Taiwanese CEO, complaining that he's abusing his workers, while looking to replace them with robots.  But that's what's come to be expected in recent years as Foxconn's success -- and controversies -- have exploded.
 
II. Billionaire -- "[My employees] are also animals... [and] animals gives me a headache"
 
While he prefers to be referred to by his Anglicized name, Terry Gou, Mr. Gou's true name is Gou Tai-ming.  He got in on the ground floor of the U.S. outsourcing trend, designing connectors for the Atari console at a small startup factory in Taiwan in 1980.  By 1988 he had moved to China, setting up a factory in Shenzhen.
 
Today, Foxconn has expanded astronomically to account for a whopping 40 percent of all consumer electronics manufacturing worldwide.  While it has facilities in Europe, Mexico, and South America, the heart of its manufacturing empire still lies in China where it has 13 factories in nine cities.  Foxconn is China's biggest employer and its Shenzhen facility is a veritable "city" of its own, with between 250,000 and 450,000 seasonal employees.
 
Most of the assembly of Apple products has traditionally been done in Shenzhen.
 
Controversy began in July 2009 when an employee who lost an iPhone prototype was beaten by plant guards and then fell to his death.  Foxconn claimed that the employee committed suicide, but some believed that he was murdered.
 
And if there was any ambiguity in that case, a spate of suicides in 2010 was far less ambiguous.  Reportedly a total of 14 employees killed themselves at Foxconn's Apple-geared plant that year.  While this wasn't that high a suicide rate compared to U.S. suicide rates, it nonetheless drew controversy as local media reports indicated a "hellish" working environment.  Foxconn admitted to making many employees work 12 hours a day, six days a week.  And some employees were reportedly working even longer -- working up to 18 hours.

Foxconn employees
Chinese protest Foxconn's harsh working conditions. [Image Source: AP]
 
Aside from the employees who committed suicide -- who were compensated under the company's insurance plan -- at least one employee was allegedly "worked to death".  Foxconn refused to give that employee's family anything.
 
Perhaps more than anything, Mr. Guo's response rubbed many the wrong way.  At his 2012 annual shareholders meeting two years ago, he remarked in Chinese [translated]:
 
Hon Hai has a workforce of over one million worldwide and as human beings are also animals, to manage one million animals gives me a headache.
 
The attitude struck many as heartless for someone with so much money governing a workforce that he paid so little.  Indeed many of his policies -- including punishing employees who talk while working on the assembly line or who take too many lavatory breaks -- seem to border on inhumane.
 
Foxconn employees
Foxconn's weary workers are asked to skip meals to attend unpaid meetings and are punished for taking too many bathroom breaks. [Image Source: Southern Weekly]

In 2010 when the suicides struck, Foxconn employees were making around $140 USD a month ($1,680 USD/year), according to ABC News, while Mr. Guo's 13 percent stake in Hon Hai made him worth roughly $5.9B USD.  
 
Others countered such criticism pointing to the charitable work Mr. Guo had done in his parents’ former hometown in Gewan, Shanxi Province, China.
 
III. Foxconn Owner Continues to Blame Dead Sweatshop Workers for Suicides
 
Today criticism about Foxconn's rising levels of unpaid employee overtime and its admission to using underage "interns" -- illegal under China's laws -- continues to draw ire from international observers, even as his defenders counter such such accusations.

His defenders, though, will have a tough time defending some of his remarks at the shareholders meeting.  He first characterized the dead workers as greedy gold-diggers, complaining:
 
We at first gave a compensation that was so high, the families of the suicide victims’ would never be able to spend it all.
 
To put that claim in context, employees who attempted suicide, but failed were given roughly CN¥180,000 in a one-off "humanitarian" payment -- or about $29,000 USD.  The families of those who actually succeeded in killing themself on average were paid around CN¥100,000 -- or roughly ~$16,000 USD.  At the 2010 national average wage for migrant manufacturers ($196 USD per month) that's roughly seven years worth of pay for the workers who killed themselves or 12 years for those who failed.  It's a lot of money for a migrant worker's family, to be certain, but "more than they could spend" seems like a pretty harsh exaggeration.
 
But he didn't stop there.  He cited a statistic he claimed to have read in "some news article" that stated that mosquitos were the leading cause of death worldwide, followed by suicide.  Actually neither suicide nor malaria are in the top ten causes of death, let alone the top two, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

From that flawed statistic, his rant took an even more troubling turn.  He remarked:
 
This [the suicides] is what happens when your company reaches a certain scale.  It wasn’t because the workers were tired.  Some of it was because the work is monotonous, but 90 percent of it had to do with personal relationships or because of family disputes.
 
It's sad to see such comments, but this isn't the first time we've seen them, certainly.  In 2010 he stated:
 
If a worker in Taiwan commits suicide because of emotional problems, his employer won't be held responsible, but we are taken to task in China because they are living and sleeping in our dormitories.
 
That claim seems highly specious as the family members and friends of the dead workers almost all claimed that their chief reason for wanting to kill themselves was feelings of hopelessness about their harsh job and low pay.  Many family members said their deceased sons or daughters had sadly wanted to send a message about Foxconn's abusively low pay.
 
And ironically, if that was the employees' intent it worked.  Perhaps Mr. Guo is more bitter that today base employee wages for Foxconn's migrant workers in China are roughly CN¥2500 (~$402 USD/month) on average -- nearly three times what they were in 2010.  The unruly "animals" had cut into Mr. Guo's profit.

Terry Gou marriage
While his employees are reportedly enduring hellish working conditions, billionaire Foxconn chief is enjoying a dream life.  He recently married his much younger dance teacher (left).
[Image Source: Taiwan News/Forbes] 

In his book, The Sayings Of Terry Gou, which employees are virtually forced to read and quote, he comments:
 
A leader must have the decisive courage to be a dictator for the common good... Behind every accomplished disciple, there is a stern mentor... You can't go wrong trying to stick with the strictest and most demanding boss.
 
Together his words paint a picture that this billionaire king of Chinese manufacturing views himself as a wrangler of sorts, forever driving his obedient herd about in its pens.  In Mr. Guo's own words his employees are animals -- and like many ranchers he seems to have little sympathy if one of his herd "falls off".  After all, to him they're just animals -- he can always find more to replace those that fall, be they men or machines.

Source: PC World



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This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

stay on article
By Nortel on 6/30/2014 12:37:52 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
While his employees are reportedly enduring hellish working conditions, billionaire Foxconn chief is enjoying a dream life. He recently married his much younger dance teacher (left).


Comparing how the CEO of any company lives in contrast to the lowest end of the company's spectrum is inane. Disregarding responsibility, education and experience of a CEO and making brainless assembly line workers seem like the down trodden. These workers want to work, its not slavery!

When these robotic assembly lines take over and cause all these 'poor folks' to be unemployed lets see how society reacts. Dammed if you do, dammed if you don't.




RE: stay on article
By retrospooty on 6/30/2014 12:48:51 PM , Rating: 2
" Dammed if you do, dammed if you don't "

But not true for Apple. They aren't damned no matter what they do, right Nortel? /s


RE: stay on article
By Nortel on 6/30/2014 1:23:44 PM , Rating: 5
Foxconn makes products for Acer, Amazon, Apple, Blackberry, Cisco, Dell, Microsoft, Motorola, Nintendo, Nokia, Sony, Toshiba, Vizio, etc...

Apple is but one client and I didn't make any comments mentioning Apple?


RE: stay on article
By retrospooty on 6/30/2014 2:52:43 PM , Rating: 2
"Foxconn makes products for Acer, Amazon, Apple, Blackberry, Cisco, Dell, Microsoft, Motorola, Nintendo, Nokia, Sony, Toshiba, Vizio"

Yup, and a whole lot more... I personally don't think this is Apple's problem. Foxconn is a vendor to Apple and it's not up to the customer to dictate work practices. I was actually not really referring to this post other than what I quoted " Dammed if you do, dammed if you don't ". Meaning, you do apply that logic elsewhere and to other companies, but not to Apple. Apple is charmed no matter what they do.


RE: stay on article
By Monkey's Uncle on 6/30/2014 3:15:33 PM , Rating: 2
You might be surprised what clients like Apple, Dell & Microsoft can insist on, and get, when it is time to renew contracts. The problem is they are only insisting on getting an overstock of their products delivered yesterday for half of what they should cost to make.

Personally I lay this kind of behavior at the feet of the BOTH the customer and the supplier. Each is equally responsible for this.

I lay it at the feet of the customers for forcing the suppliers to deliver to unreasonable deadlines and quantities of product with no questions asked.

I lay it at the feet of the supplier for saying 'yez masta!' to those customers making these unreasonable demands, undercutting their competitor's cost and then killing his employees trying to meet them rather than ramping up facilities and manpower to deal with it.


RE: stay on article
By retrospooty on 6/30/2014 6:45:05 PM , Rating: 1
Yes, they can insist, but ultimately its not their issue. If I contact to sell you 10,000,000 gadgets at x price, and we have a contact, it really isnt your problem how crappy I treat my employees. If you insist on it I may alter my practices to keep your business.

I am all about bashing Apple for alot of things, but this really isn't their issue. Terry Gou sounds like a perfect schmuck.


RE: stay on article
By Monkey's Uncle on 7/1/2014 10:48:27 AM , Rating: 2
True.

It is unfortunate that business and morals rarely, if ever take each other into account. They unfortunately tend to be mutually exclusive.


RE: stay on article
By Wazza1234 on 7/1/2014 4:34:59 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I was actually not really referring to this post other than what I quoted " Dammed if you do, dammed if you don't ". Meaning, you do apply that logic elsewhere and to other companies, but not to Apple. Apple is charmed no matter what they do.


What on earth are you talking about? When he said 'damned if you do, damned if you don't' he was referring to Foxconn employing people. His comment has nothing to do with Apple and just because he uses that phrase to describe one situation doesn't mean it applies to anything else.

Idiot.


RE: stay on article
By retrospooty on 7/1/2014 12:18:37 PM , Rating: 2
It's beyond you Testerguy. I was talking to Nortel about Nortel, not to you about Foxconn.

Go back to your banned IP and we will see you again in a few weeks.


RE: stay on article
By Xplorer4x4 on 7/5/2014 6:21:24 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Yup, and a whole lot more... I personally don't think this is Apple's problem.

Fault is more like it but even then it's hard to put the blame solely on apple but Apple does seem to the one getting the most production work done at Foxcon so they take the largest chunk of the blame imo.


RE: stay on article
By tonyswash on 7/2/2014 3:57:21 AM , Rating: 2

quote:
But not true for Apple. They aren't damned no matter what they do


And neither are Samsung apparently.

From yesterday's Verge:

http://www.theverge.com/2014/7/1/5860138/samsung-s...


RE: stay on article
By Motoman on 6/30/2014 1:10:28 PM , Rating: 2
Realistically, the issue isn't about whether or not to use robots.

I would guess that there's already significantly more people on this planet than there are jobs for them to earn a living at.

With advances in technology, and a burgeoning population, the ultimate issue isn't going to be trying to stop the progress of workforce automation and/or other improvements that allow the same (or more) work to be done with fewer employees. The issue is how are you going to structure a society (-ies) that function while having nowhere near enough jobs for the whole population?

No point in whining about one instance of assembly line automation. Start working on solutions as to how we're going to make the world function in a positive manner when there's an ever-growing portion of the population for which there will never be employment available.

After all, the whole point of applying technology to work/business is to allow humans to have to do less and less work themselves, is it not?


RE: stay on article
By Flunk on 6/30/2014 1:38:06 PM , Rating: 3
Well, given your scenario there are only two real options. You either create a dystopia where the rich have everything and the poor struggle to survive or a socialist society that takes care of the basic needs of its people regardless of if they work or not.

I don't think that will happen, every time a new advance has improved the productivity of a particular task a new opportunity has opened somewhere else. People have been arguing that technology will make humans redundant since the 1800's but it hasn't happened yet.


RE: stay on article
By bupkus on 6/30/2014 7:22:29 PM , Rating: 2
Finally, someone who at least addresses the real issues.

I would add here highly subsidized education for those people who can take human thought, ideas and creativity beyond the narrow confines of simple corporate profitability.

Because "diamonds in the rough" have a surprise value, I would endorse access to higher and better education to all who appeal.

Of course, you could argue in favor of modern ghettos breeding a hard revolutionary core, but that wouldn't be my call.


RE: stay on article
By Reclaimer77 on 6/30/14, Rating: -1
RE: stay on article
By Wazza1234 on 7/1/2014 4:37:45 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
It makes no sense to suggest a population can grow substantially, but the number of jobs remain more or less static.


Of course it's possible, when you take into account automation technology can allow.

quote:
Growing populations dictate, quite simply, that economies must grow as well to accommodate them.


They don't dictate that at all. In fact, scale of economies has nothing to do with the population. But even if it was true, a growing economy doesn't necessarily mean more jobs.


RE: stay on article
By EyesWideOpen on 6/30/2014 2:00:13 PM , Rating: 2

quote:
After all, the whole point of applying technology to work/business is to allow humans to have to do less and less work themselves, is it not?


It depends on who is writing the check and what their objective is. Most big business are after predictability of production and improved quality that comes with certain automation technologies; but if you can produce the product at a lower price, that is the biggest reason. With corporations treating employs like a liability, the elimination of a few thousand jobs is a winner for them as well.

They don’t care about people they are only after money!


RE: stay on article
By coburn_c on 6/30/2014 2:16:18 PM , Rating: 2
The social credit system is a pretty good plan. Problem is 60% of the population are narcissistic socio-paths who think that work is the reason for the 'brainless masses' to exist. How ironic ay.

You idle them and their alexithymia would have them shooting up classrooms in no time.


RE: stay on article
By amanojaku on 6/30/2014 1:16:21 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
stay on article

Comparing how the CEO of any company lives in contrast to the lowest end of the company's spectrum is inane.
Apparently, you haven't made the connection between Foxconn's goal to replace its workers with robots and the owner's disgust for the people who've made him wealthy. All businesses want to lower costs, but this guy will likely go to extremes. There wouldn't be a single person working at Foxconn if he could make it that way. Now, try to imagine an economy where no one earns any money.
quote:
Disregarding responsibility, education and experience of a CEO and making brainless assembly line workers seem like the down trodden.
What make you think Terry Gou is responsible, educated, and experienced? The deaths and general controversy clearly show he isn't responsible. Actually, he doesn't even care, so how could he be? He's not educated, either. He started his career in factories, just like the workers his company abuses. And his experience is a common one in Asian manufacturing: scrape together some cheap equipment and labor, sell products at a profit, threaten cheap labor with job loss and violence, wash, rinse, repeat. When has Foxconn made a name for itself other than cheap cost and labor abuse?
quote:
These workers want to work, its not slavery!
It's effectively slavery. The problem is a systemic one, so it's unfair to point the blame squarely at Foxconn. However, its visibility due to association with Apple and the profits made from Apple sales have placed Foxconn under the microscope. The CEO's comments are just adding fuel to the fire.
quote:
When these robotic assembly lines take over and cause all these 'poor folks' to be unemployed lets see how society reacts. Dammed if you do, dammed if you don't.
Why did you put "poor folks" in quotes? These people ARE poor! And not "American" poor, either.


RE: stay on article
By Nortel on 6/30/14, Rating: 0
RE: stay on article
By Reclaimer77 on 6/30/2014 2:14:43 PM , Rating: 1
The suicide rate at Foxxconn was lower than the per-capita average suicide rate in China.

I think you people forget this is factory on a completely different scale than anything we're accustomed to. Foxconn is more like a small city, with over 100k employees daily!

quote:
It's effectively slavery.


When Foxconn holds a job fair to fill 5,000 positions, they receive hundreds of thousands of applications. APPLICATIONS!

Yeah that TOTALLY sounds like "slavery"....

quote:
There wouldn't be a single person working at Foxconn if he could make it that way.


I seriously doubt that. Where is he saying that?

He simply wants to replace the most costly, least efficient, and least dependable aspect of his operation (the human worker) with something that never makes mistakes, never misses work due to sickness or personal problems, and can work 24/7 without complaint.

How does that make him evil again?

quote:
The CEO's comments are just adding fuel to the fire.


The mans first language is NOT English. Stop going with the sensationalist slant of the author and use your head. He's not calling his workers literal animals.


RE: stay on article
By Monkey's Uncle on 6/30/2014 2:38:49 PM , Rating: 1
Bravo Reclaimer! You should get a humanitarian award for your compassion.


RE: stay on article
By Reclaimer77 on 6/30/14, Rating: 0
RE: stay on article
By Monkey's Uncle on 6/30/2014 3:45:03 PM , Rating: 3
The lack of compassion is where you are so cool with this guy replacing a large portion of his 100,000 thinking and reasoning employees with robots. There are 3 billion people in China; 60% of which that need to work in order to live and support families. Having a place like foxconn turfing out his employees and replacing them with robots is basically like dumping almost 50% of those people out into the streets to starve.

You say that it will reduce faulty goods. Yeah, but so will employing more than 2 shifts of people in a 24hr day.

Tired employees make mistakes. Have them work 3x 8hr shifts and like magic, you reduce mistakes and faulty goods! As well you are magically providing badly needed jobs for 30% more people.

Here are some facts for you:

Machines do not work 24/7. You run machines like that and they break down FAST (just like people). Machines require energy to run which costs more money. Machines require maintenance and trained technicians. Machines pollute the environment in a country that is already the highest polluter in the world.

Sure the guy is a CEO and entitled to have a cute, young, high maintenance wife. Why not? More power to him! That does not give him the right to force his employees to recite the wisdom from his book every day and treat them like cattle.

What can we do about it? Well, I think you are on the right track Reclaimer -- tell Apple to stuff their iPads up their poop-chutes sideways. If enough of us do that (and I mean DO it not just gripe on a tech forum), apple just might think about who it is they are doing business with and push them.

But don't stop there. Most android phones and tablets are made by foxconn as well. How about the circuit board parts in that console and that computer (90% computer motherboards are riddled by connectors made by foxconn regardless of its branding). The innards of your TV and your microwave. The oven and the washing machine. Your car. All stuffed full of foxconn parts.

You want to do something about how Foxconn treats its people? Go to the various manufacturers and tell them straight up that you will not buy their products as long as they support suppliers that treat their employees like this. Perhaps these social reforms and employee standards need to be kicked in the ass by people like you and me. If enough of us do that, the reforms WILL happen - or the people making the huge $ off us will start seeing those $ shrink..


RE: stay on article
By Reclaimer77 on 6/30/2014 4:46:53 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
The lack of compassion is where you are so cool with this guy replacing a large portion of his 100,000 thinking and reasoning employees with robots


I don't see why I should be forced into the position that if one concedes automation makes sense, he's a big old evil person lacking in compassion. Come on, that's ridiculous!

To hell with your premise and to hell with you, sir.

The car you drive, assuming you own one, was also made mostly with automated robots. OMG, why aren't you riding a bike? Where's your compassion!!!???

quote:
Machines require energy to run which costs more money. Machines require maintenance and trained technicians. Machines pollute the environment in a country that is already the highest polluter in the world.


uhh "facts"? Machines don't eat food. They don't crap thousands of pounds of fecal matter into the sewage systems. They don't drive cars, etc etc etc.

I'm pretty sure all told, these machines have FAR less of an ecological footprint than your average person.

quote:
I think you are on the right track Reclaimer -- tell Apple to stuff their iPads up their poop-chutes sideways.


I have not contributed one solitary dollar to Apple over the course of my entire lifetime. Fact. So I'm right there with you here.

quote:
You want to do something about how Foxconn treats its people?


Honestly? Not really. I have my own problems, and my country has it's own problems. And I'm sorry that some people in China have it bad, but there's just nothing I can do about it beyond boycotting Apple.

I don't feel that makes me a bad person, sorry. I'm not Bill Gates. What do you want from me?


RE: stay on article
By Monkey's Uncle on 6/30/2014 7:16:22 PM , Rating: 2
WooHoo! :D

quote:
I don't see why I should be forced into the position that if one concedes automation makes sense, he's a big old evil person lacking in compassion. Come on, that's ridiculous!
...to hell with you, sir.


I already told you where that compassion is lacking. Perhaps you missed it? Trust me, If I'm not already in hell, then I will be there soon enough.

quote:
The car you drive, assuming you own one, was also made mostly with automated robots. OMG, why aren't you riding a bike? Where's your compassion!!!???


The car was assembled in an assembly line in the Michigan. Last time I looked I have yet to see an American company with a million employees looking to replace half of them with robots. And if one tried, your dear president (regardless of which one is in power) would step right in and put a stop to it. Frankly I have yet to own a car (and I have owned about a dozen from brand new) that did not have quality control issues. Even the Lexus I had was rather less than perfection. And.... wait for it... each one was built with ROBOTS. So where is that quality control that robots are supposed to ensure?

I would bet my last dollar that if any of those cars was HAND BUILT BY HUMANS it would have 100% less quality control issues than the others. There is a reason why hand-built cars and engines are highly sought after and priced far above those made on a robotic assembly line.

quote:
uhh "facts"? Machines don't eat food. They don't crap thousands of pounds of fecal matter into the sewage systems. They don't drive cars, etc etc etc. I'm pretty sure all told, these machines have FAR less of an ecological footprint than your average person.


Machines don't eat food. They eat electricity and fossil fuels. And huge amounts of it! 5 line workers will consume about $7 each in food during their shift - $35. How much money in energy will that robot that replaces them burn during that same shift?

What you fail to realize is that even with robots putting all those people out of work, the same number of people people will need to eat, shit, well they won't drive cars because they are now OUT OF WORK, etc etc etc. Just the same as when they were working at that factory. The people don't just disappear. They are still there, only they are now out of work. Also most people that work in a Chinese sweatshop are paid so little they can't afford to drive cars even when they ARE working. They walk, ride a bike or take your favorite - the mass transit system to get to/from the job. So that part of your argument is shot too. Now let's ADD THE ROBOTS! Oh my! all those now-out-of-work people eating, shitting, trying to find a job and now on top of that ROBOTS chewing up even more energy, spewing even more pollutants and breaking down...

Yep, robots sure are the real energy star winners here.

quote:
I have not contributed one solitary dollar to Apple over the course of my entire lifetime. Fact. So I'm right there with you here.


Good for you. I bet Apple is so hurt by you lack of sponsorship that they are telling off foxconn right now. Did you tell them why you are not buying their products? I doubt you did (telling Tony does not count). I'm sure that if if you did though the whole idea that they are using foxconn is their supplier would never come up.

quote:


Honestly? Not really. I have my own problems, and my country has it's own problems. And I'm sorry that some people in China have it bad, but there's just nothing I can do about it beyond boycotting Apple.


We've all got problems bud.

I told you what you could do about it, but the 1st 3 words of your quoted response again shows your lack of compassion - regardless of how you try to backpedal in the same paragraph. But anyway, you got one thing wrong in your earlier posts... we are not talking about a company that employs a 100,000 people. No. Foxconn employs One Million People give or take 10 or 20 thousand. When a company that size looks to replace half a million with robots, there is a problem. A BIG one. It is just a spit in the bucket of China's 1.3 billion people. But that number of people represents more than the entire population of Atlanta Georgia. So imagine every person in Atlanta out of work and looking for a job and tell me again how Foxconn's CEO is so cool in replacing his workforce with robots.

quote:
I don't feel that makes me a bad person, sorry. I'm not Bill Gates. What do you want from me?


Who says you have to be Bill Gates? Frankly he was just as guilty with his outsourcing to these sweatshops.

I don't think you are a fundamentally bad person. You are just fun to troll.


RE: stay on article
By Nortel on 6/30/2014 4:21:34 PM , Rating: 2
Apple products are at least designed in the USA and all software is designed, created and tested in the USA. Some products are even assembled in the USA.

Acer, Amazon, Apple, Blackberry, Cisco, Dell, Microsoft, Motorola, Nintendo, Nokia, Sony, Toshiba, Vizio, etc... products are all made by Foxconn... I don't know why you are targeting Apple as the antagonist.


RE: stay on article
By Monkey's Uncle on 7/1/2014 9:47:16 AM , Rating: 2
Apple is an easy, and equally culpable target.
For that matter so is Samsung, LG, Asus and just about any other tech manufacturer.

Thing is just about everything you use is made by cattle (according to Mr Gau) in a sweatshop under deplorable conditions. The real problem is that countries these sweatshops are located in have huge populations of low skill / low education workers that need to be employed. The governments of these places are more than happy to turn their backs on local corporations exploiting the desperation of their employees as long as they keep large numbers of these people employed. Remember also that China is a communist/socialist society. Employed people pay taxes and don't require social assistance. Unemployed people are a drain on government resources.

Now if Gau wants to replace half of his workforce with robots, a whopping half million people, I think the government might take a little closer look at it.

The Chinese government has a lot more veto power over what corporations are allowed to do than the American government has over American corporations.


RE: stay on article
By Shadowself on 7/1/2014 9:28:24 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I'm probably doing the only thing I CAN do as an American already: I refuse to buy Apple products.

So I assume you don't buy any of these products that Foxconn has a hand in makeing either...
Acer, Amazon, Blackberry, Cisco, Dell, Microsoft, Motorola, Nintendo, Nokia, Sony, Toshiba, Vizio, etc...


RE: stay on article
By Reclaimer77 on 7/1/2014 9:42:20 AM , Rating: 1
Nope. My issues with Apple have nothing to do with Foxconn. I could care less about what happens at Foxconn, just being honest.

I'm more concerned about some of these idiots trying to turn America into a version of Communist China, than I am about what's happening in China.


RE: stay on article
By Monkey's Uncle on 7/1/2014 10:05:34 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
I could care less about what happens at Foxconn, just being honest.


Your humanity and comassion is showing.

quote:
I'm more concerned about some of these idiots trying to turn America into a version of Communist China, than I am about what's happening in China.


No worries there. America is a consumer country not a producer. As long as that holds sway it will always be a capitalist country.

You might have absolutely no rights or freedoms left, and what you leave behind in the toilet might be examined under a microscope by the NSA, but capitalism will be foremost on your leader's minds.

For the long term if you manage to have two cars, you will be able to keep them both rather than be forced to give one away to someone that doesn't have one.

And if the day comes that you can't, well, you can always vote the despots currently in power out.


RE: stay on article
By amanojaku on 6/30/2014 4:46:58 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
The suicide rate at Foxxconn was lower than the per-capita average suicide rate in China.
What you and sleepeeg3 (who posted elsewhere) fail to understand is that the workplace is not a hotbed of suicide, so it's no surprise that Foxconn's workers aren't killing themselves at the national rate.

A quick check of China's suicide statistics show:

3:1 rural to urban ratio
3:1 female to male ratio
Low rates of mental illness or depression in victims

The researchers concluded that China's suicide victims are typically women with personal or financial problems who make snap decisions to kill themselves. Workplace conditions are generally not the reason for suicide.
quote:
When Foxconn holds a job fair to fill 5,000 positions, they receive hundreds of thousands of applications. APPLICATIONS!
Well, duh. You gotta put food on the table, you take any job available. The choice is starvation or humiliation - if the plantation is hiring, you take off your shirt and prepare to be whipped.
quote:
I seriously doubt that. Where is he saying that?
You're right, he never said that. However, if you take all of his comments and look at all of Foxconn's actions there is a clear pattern of disrespect for humanity. Specifically, the kind that works for him and people like him.
quote:
The mans first language is NOT English. Stop going with the sensationalist slant of the author and use your head. He's not calling his workers literal animals.
Actually, he's fluent in English. He's been selling to large American companies since the 80's. In person. He literally trekked across America for a year just to sell his products.


RE: stay on article
By Wazza1234 on 7/1/2014 4:44:19 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
The researchers concluded that China's suicide victims are typically women with personal or financial problems who make snap decisions to kill themselves. Workplace conditions are generally not the reason for suicide.


So are you making a point here? You ranted about some statistics but never argued against his factual comment that the suicide rate at Foxconn was lower.

quote:
Well, duh. You gotta put food on the table, you take any job available. The choice is starvation or humiliation - if the plantation is hiring, you take off your shirt and prepare to be whipped.


Er, I'm sorry, but how is it a companies fault if other companies aren't providing people similar opportunities that they are? What a ridiculous notion. You need to learn the basics of supply and demand. If jobs are in short supply, demand is high and therefore the employer doesn't have to offer as much money. And still - look at what you're saying. You're showing how bad not having the job is - as a justification for how bad having the job is. That makes no sense whatsoever.


RE: stay on article
By Wazza1234 on 7/1/2014 4:40:18 AM , Rating: 2
Wow Reclaimer77 - who dropped you on your head and made you intelligent?

Maybe the first post of yours ever that I agree with!


RE: stay on article
By MrBlastman on 6/30/2014 1:36:53 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
Comparing how the CEO of any company lives in contrast to the lowest end of the company's spectrum is inane. Disregarding responsibility, education and experience of a CEO and making brainless assembly line workers seem like the down trodden. These workers want to work, its not slavery!


Give me a break.

Of course you should compare CEO pay with the line workers. It is the only way to properly put into perspective how well they are treated by their "king."

The only reason it isn't slavery is they can walk away. But back to what? A world of nothing, that's what.

Have you ever wondered why CEOs that suck their workers dry like a vampire and live like kings pay them little? They pay them so little so they have no choice but to continue working. They dangle a carrot just out of reach for them to try and work towards but constantly raise the bar so they can never catch it. They give them barely enough to feed themselves but just slightly less than they would need to afford anything else.

It isn't a form of motivation. It is a form of famine. They can go back to starving to death or they can barely scrape by hoping some day, somehow, they'll get ahead in a game that is constantly rigged to screw them over.

So if you look at it that way... how is it not slavery? Their only choice is to keep working or face having nothing at all.

There's a word for this guy that runs Foxconn. Look it up--"sociopath" is what you'll want to read about. Countless executives in America Corporations fit this profile.

Most of these chumps should be tied to what their line workers make. A fixed ratio. They want a pay raise... they must give their workers an equal one to keep the ratio in check. And I'm not talking about a 300-1 ratio. It needs to be far more reasonable--say, 50-1 at most. The only exception is if you make the business yourself and are an original founder.


RE: stay on article
By Rukkian on 6/30/2014 4:20:14 PM , Rating: 2
The job of the CEO (and really all employees of a company) is not to make his employees happy, it is to make money for the owners/shareholders. To tie their pay to that of a bottom level, no skill, menial labor makes no sense at all.

You claim that it should be a set ratio, but how would that work for different size companies? So a CEO of a $10m company should be paid the same as a CEO of a $200B company simply because their worker at the bottom make approximately the same? That makes no sense. A leader of a fortune 500, 100, etc has much more responsibility than somebody running a little mom and pop shop with 100 employees.

I understand some think the pay it way overblown, and I probably think the same, but that is up to the individual owners or shareholders to decide. Is the hundreds of million paid to a big name CEO worth it as opposed to paying somebody else less, but potentially not making as much?


RE: stay on article
By MrBlastman on 6/30/2014 5:19:46 PM , Rating: 5
I am a shareholder. I own LOTS of different stocks for both myself and for many people. So I'm fully aware of what the executive staff are responsible for.

As I see it, there are very little negatives for being a CEO other than giving up all your free time (you have none). Most are given huge "parachute" packages in case they fail. And if they do, they make out with millions in many cases. Sometimes you'll see them fired but more times than not they take home a great deal of money.

Some will argue that is to help alleviate them being afraid of taking risks. But really, that would be a valid argument if by messing up, they are no longer employable. Truth be told, you'll find them taking jobs elsewhere afterwards making a nice fat check once again.

No, the CEO doesn't need to make employees happy. They need to focus on the bottom line. But wouldn't an organization full of employees that have actual "ownership" in the outcome through either stock options, increased pay, profit sharing or other tangible, financial incentives want to work harder?

There's two ways to increase the bottom line--you can cut costs by firing, reducing expenditures and increasing efficency. Or, you can improve revenues, sales and quality through employee productivity. Granted, the first method costs very little (other than potentially lost employee aptitude) and the second method costs a great deal more. But in the end, what do you end up with?

Method one gives you a smaller, leaner company with a particular focus. Employee morale is slashed and they are full of fear--they work through this fear so they won't be a victim of further cuts.

Method two gives you employees that are motivated to work hard. They know their employer values them thus productivity potentially soars. You haven't sacrificed your business model, you maintain vertical diversity and breadth of capabilities and ultimately revenues increase faster due to more employees in the system thus ultimately, provided productivity increases as expected, profitability. Now, these aren't 1:1 with each other, but the results should be tangible and long-term, positive morale leads to greater retention of employees, reducing churn, reducing intellectual loss and a veteran, more capable workforce.

I have never, ever been a fan of the first method. I'll go so far to say if I do see a CEO executing the first one, I'll permanently sell out of a company until that mentality has been replaced. The results speak for themselves, however. More times than not I have seen lagging performance in a company's stock when they focus solely on method one.

There is one caveat: The stock market must be a healthy one. What we have right now is not healthy. It is sickly and boosted by artificial profit margins and manipulated earnings per share. What we have currently is not sustainable in the least unless we see matriculation of currency to the general populace because this is the only method pure, increasing cash flow can be sustained. Conversely the negative side-effect to all this will be realized inflation. What we have now is banked due to stagnancy of currency exchange. Either way, this will lead to true, future growth.

But lately, we still see a huge pay disparity between the CEO and line workers. We've seen a dramatic uptick in executive pay with little to the line worker. They aren't earning more, the money is locked in corporate vaults and financial institutions. And people wonder why the economy is lagging?

If you tie CEO pay to the worker, they are forced to keep money flowing through the system and if they want more, they must properly reward those who have done all the grunt work to get them there. A good CEO is paramount, but what good is the best CEO in the world if they have awful workers?

CEOs don't get to where they are by themselves. They get there because they properly lead the workers beneath them and in turn, they do good, hard work which produces results.

The line workers deserve pay increases as much as the CEO--every little bit. In some cases, more. Remember, there is only so much one person can do.


RE: stay on article
By JasonMick (blog) on 6/30/2014 1:41:15 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Comparing how the CEO of any company lives in contrast to the lowest end of the company's spectrum is inane. Disregarding responsibility, education and experience of a CEO and making brainless assembly line workers seem like the down trodden. These workers want to work, its not slavery!
I agree with you to some extent, that the employees want to work... but I never suggested otherwise.

However, I disagree in general that a celebrity or power figure's personal life shouldn't reflect on them. When you think of Henry VIII, do you think of his military campaigns? No, the first thing you associate him with is his lifestyle. Lifestyle does reflect on one's personality. Look at Bill Gates or Warren Buffet. They live rather humbly for their wealth... and not surprisingly they were relatively altruistic and supported a well paid workforce OVERALL.

This guy's lifestyle is very pertinent because while he has humble beginnings he's become and egomaniac to the point where he forces his employees to quote his nuggets of "wisdom". That kind of attitude has a direct affect on the working conditions at Foxconn.

Only when employees threatened to send his whole business to the ground did he budge on salaries. Even today he's fighting them tooth and nail to keep hour high and wages lower. Employees are fighting back by damaging electronics and striking; he's responding by replacing them slowly with robots.

But some of the robot transition is overstated. The migrant worker population is actually dwindling thanks to China's relatively successful education push and growing engineering class.

Thankfully mankind is advancing ahead where this sort of industrial baron mentality is vanishing.

Its a catch 22 for the plutocracy. You need people to make SOME money so they can buy your products, but at the same time you have to keep them poor and uneducated so as to consolidate wealth for yourself and prevent new wealth from displacing your horde. But as technology advances it's harder to stop meritocracy as you're dealing with a workforce that's slowly becoming more educated. One tactic to try to keep their grip will likely be to try to financially subvert and stir chaos in developing nations. But that will only work for so long, as you can't fooll all the people all the time.
quote:
When these robotic assembly lines take over and cause all these 'poor folks' to be unemployed lets see how society reacts. Dammed if you do, dammed if you don't.
Yes, because in the U.S. and Europe the economy just collapsed with the advent of automation. Your concern is not atypical; many have said the exact same thing historically. However that doesn't make such fearmongering any less silly, particularly given how many times its been disproven.

You need someone to design the robots, and if you free up people from do menial chores (farming, manufacturing) people can start creative businesses or service business (e.g. become artists, musicians, designers, architects, restaurant owners, coffeshop owners, etc.).

Automation is a good thing.


RE: stay on article
By Reclaimer77 on 6/30/14, Rating: -1
RE: stay on article
By MrBlastman on 6/30/2014 2:13:03 PM , Rating: 3
See, the problem is, what we have now in America at least is a rising upper class that has seized all the power in our country. They control both political parties, they control our Congress, our State Governments. The list goes on here. If you look at our economic conditions, they are indicative of a select group of "haves" hoarding for themselves. Most of the problems in our Government can be attributed to those with wealth and power skewing it to their advantage while disadvantaging others.

You can still get ahead in our Country. It requires hard work. It also requires a fair bit of luck, the ability to recognize that luck and then act on it. It helps to know the right people, too.

quote:
Even in America, people don't get rich working at entry level factory jobs. Hello? I guess all of our CEO's are scum too? I mean come on, enough with this goddamned Socialist "I'm the 99%" nonsense, it's getting us nowhere fast.


I don't think most people in America are calling for us to be Socialist. We are only seeking to reinstate the Middle Class for what it was and stood for. At the moment, there is practically no true "Middle Class," or it is dwindling fast.

You can't have a flourishing Economy if the majority of income is skewed towards an extremely small percentage of people. It benefits everyone in the long run to have it less top-heavy.

I'm not saying re-distribute! (Though that could occur "naturally" if it becomes too extreme). What I am saying is bring things back down to levels of "sanity."


RE: stay on article
By Reclaimer77 on 6/30/14, Rating: -1
RE: stay on article
By Rukkian on 6/30/2014 4:29:32 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
See you guys always get this wrong. The rich "control" nothing. They don't own the Government, not at all.

What's been happening is the Government, who holds all the power, has instituted a pay-to-play system.

Even local Government's work this way. If you want to play, you gotta pay.


So who do you think has the money to "pay to play"? Do you think it is the people with no money at the bottom?
Who do you think put the laws in place to allow this? Since you have to pay to play (been that way for quite awhile, but it is snowballing), the laws get changed by the people with the money so they can make even more money to get even more influence, etc, etc.

I am not saying anything can be done, just wanting to know why you think
quote:
The rich "control" nothing.


RE: stay on article
By djcameron on 6/30/2014 4:08:42 PM , Rating: 2
Practically no middle-class? BS. Most people, even the relatively poor, have iPhones, a car, money for cigarettes, at least one flat screen TV in their house/apartment, designer clothing, a computer, and more.


RE: stay on article
By MrBlastman on 6/30/2014 5:03:20 PM , Rating: 1
Don't be fooled. These are trinkets to placate the masses, nothing more. They give us the "illusion" of being in control.

Once you fall under their spell, you're basically powerless. You accept what they tell you to like and never question it again.


RE: stay on article
By KCjoker on 6/30/2014 6:39:26 PM , Rating: 2
If those trinkets don't matter then what does? It's always people complaining how the rich have big houses, luxury cars,etc that they don't "NEED"....aren't those trinkets?


RE: stay on article
By fleshconsumed on 7/1/2014 10:37:23 AM , Rating: 2
ROFLMAO since when an iPhone is a good middle class indicator? Those things are $200 plus contract. Just because a starbucks barista can afford one does not speak of how well he's doing in his life, it speaks of how cheap an iPhone is. I'm sure years back someone made the same argument, oh, this guy has a push button phone instead of rotary one, he must be doing real swell. See how ridiculous that sounds?

Why don't we go by the net worth instead? Last I read median (i.e. middle class) net worth in US is around 50K. The article I read did not specify what it included, but I would have to presume it included retirement accounts and any house equity. 50K. That's how well the middle class is doing in US. Not sure how you feel, but to me that doesn't really feel very middle class to me.


Suicide rate is far better than average
By sleepeeg3 on 6/30/2014 3:11:34 PM , Rating: 2
No matter how the media (primarily DailyTech) has tried to portray Foxconn, the suicide rate is far better than average for a company its size.

Suicide rate in China: 13.9 people / 100,000
Size of Foxconn: 1,000,000+ people
Actual number of suicides: 17
Projected number of suicides: 139

While comparatively, Foxconn employees are making far less than the people who can actually afford iPhones, being employed at Foxconn is apparently a far happier experience than working elsewhere in China. Even if their wage is comparatively low, cost of living is much lower as well.

Sources:
http://www.who.int/mental_health/media/chin.pdf
http://www.wired.com/2011/02/ff_joelinchina/




RE: Suicide rate is far better than average
By Monkey's Uncle on 6/30/2014 3:57:35 PM , Rating: 5
Perhaps you should say
Actual number of successful suicides: 17

How may were attempted? You realize that foxconn installed nets all around their buildings to catch jumpers, right? Did you ask yourself why?

That of course does not count the ones that were worked to death.

And before you say there is no such thing as being worked to death, try working a job that has you working 12-18 hrs a day 6 days per week. I wonder how long it will take you before you quit? Now consider that there are no jobs to go to? Would you still quit? If you had children to feed, clothe and house? I wonder what state your mental health is in working in conditions like that year after year - especially when you consider life insurance in China will pay off if you suicide in a way that doesn't look like a suicide.


By Motoman on 6/30/2014 8:50:28 PM , Rating: 2
His whole rant, and others like it, is a red herring anyway.

Comparing the suicide rate of Foxconn Apple plant workers to the Chinese national average isn't informational. You're not comparing, um, apples and apples there. The two populations aren't comparable, and putting the two statistics side by side is meaningless.

What *would* be meaningful is to compare Foxconn Apple plant worker suicide rates to other Foxconn plants. And other, similar high-tech assembly plants.

Then you'd be making a valid point. And granted that we've never really heard about any suicide issues anywhere else...I'm guessing it's a point they don't want you to find.


A little dramatic
By Schrag4 on 6/30/2014 1:35:00 PM , Rating: 2
Terry Guo said:
quote:
Hon Hai has a workforce of over one million worldwide and as human beings are also animals, to manage one million animals gives me a headache.


It seems to me that he's simply making a comparison between humans (or any other biological form that needs breaks, has individuality, etc etc) and robots (which are as faithful as their mechanical reliability, etc etc). Is he not calling himself an animal in this very same sentence?

I know I'll get flamed for this post but it seems to me that the sentence taken by itself might be missing some context. I'm not trying to take a stance on this issue, I'm just casting my doubt about the way Mr. Guo's comments are being framed here.




RE: A little dramatic
By roykahn on 7/1/2014 6:25:20 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, I know what you mean, but he should not be using the term "animal" to describe himself or his employees. It is natural to interpret his comment as what he feels emotionally towards his employees. His employees give him headaches. They are animals. There are too many of them. Any sort of leader with even the most basic public-speaking skills would never dare utter such thoughts. I suppose it's not shocking for someone of his stature to think it, but it is a bit shocking to actually say it publicly.


RE: A little dramatic
By Schrag4 on 7/1/2014 10:48:42 AM , Rating: 2
I don't know. Is English his first language? Could something be lost (or added) in translation? I'd like to stress again that his wording might have been simply to convey that robots behave much more predictably. I guess if you're ready to jump down someone's throat then you'll twist his words. Maybe if I knew the guy I would twist his words, too.


LOL !!
By kattanna on 6/30/2014 12:36:28 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
We at first gave a compensation that was so high, the families of the suicide victims’ would never be able to spend it all


WOW.. thats pretty awesome right there.




RE: LOL !!
By hughlle on 6/30/2014 1:14:09 PM , Rating: 2
*Based on spending habits over the past 6 months.


Based on my experience in China,
By Doh! on 6/30/2014 8:06:46 PM , Rating: 2
As someone who have visited several Foxconn factories in China/Vietnam and worked for a company that dealt closely with Samsung, LG, Nokia and other phone manufacturers, and as someone who had actually worked in China managing a manufacturing plant of 5,000 employees, I can tell you the conditions at Foxconn is much better than at most other manufacturing facilities in China. Nobody is working at ransom, nobody is working against their own will. They work crazy hours because they want the overtime pay and maximize their earnings. The specifically demand to work enormous amount of hours on a regular basis. The biggest issue is not the working conditions but the employment process in which a corrupt broker is usually involved that ultimately leads to various personal problems for the employee. Also the employees are generally controlled by a few powerful union leaders who are often closely related to gang organizations. The workers in China have far more power when addressing/demanding issues against their employers compared to the US.




By roykahn on 7/1/2014 6:14:10 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
The workers in China have far more power when addressing/demanding issues against their employers compared to the US.


That's an interesting issue. However, I doubt that your statement is correct. How do labor laws compare between US and China? How about union laws, ability to protest, labor mobility, etc?

Given the large discrepancy in the freedom of the press, I doubt issues of justice like fair working conditions would be better handled in China. I'm really interested to see how you can back up your claim.


Robots don't buy iPhones
By PrinceGaz on 7/1/2014 1:18:52 PM , Rating: 3
Robots don't buy any phones. As much as I am in favour of robots doing as much of the repetitive work in every industry as possible, you're still going to have to pay the rest of the population if you want them to buy whatever you are producing.




Bad man
By Mithan on 7/1/2014 3:27:37 PM , Rating: 2


This piece of work could of done a stint next to Henry Ford back in the day, while not perfect, was a far better man.

So ya, he has billions. Who cares. When he dies, everybody will laugh at him.




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