Foxconn Increasing its China Staff to 1.3 Million Workers

While the US economy suffers from severe joblessness, one of China’s largest manufacturers, Foxconn Technology Group, is making plans to add about 400,000 new jobs over the next year and build new factories.

True, it’s the same Foxconn that recently experienced a string of 12 worker suicides, but apparently things are looking up!

After doubling salaries and holding a few morale-boosting worker rallies, the company is feeling confident enough to remove safety nets it had had to install… the ones designed to keep jumpers from succeeding in taking their own lives.

From Bloomberg:

“The Taiwanese company aims to boost its China workforce to 1.2 million to 1.3 million people after revenue jumped 50 percent in the first half, Louis Woo, special assistant to the chief executive officer, said in an interview today. Foxconn will expand to inland provinces Henan and Sichuan because that’s “what the new generation of workers wants,” he said.

“Foxconn’s hiring plan, equivalent to more than three times the combined workforces of Microsoft Corp. and Apple, signals an improving outlook for electronics demand as the global economy recovers. The company is shifting away from Shenzhen, the southern coastal city that’s a magnet for migrant workers, after the suicides of at least 12 workers this year prompted it to install safety nets to prevent employees jumping to their deaths…

“…Chairman Terry Gou in June denied Foxconn was running a sweatshop and blamed personal problems and compensation packages offered to bereaved families for most of the suicides. The deaths prompted the company to hire monks and counselors to help employees, while it doubled the base wage for workers in Shenzhen. Clients also hired suicide experts to visit the company and talk with workers, Woo said today. Foxconn and its employees’ union held rallies across China today with more than 100,000 workers signing a pledge entitled “Treasure your life, care for your family,” it said in a statement.”

Now, according to sources quoted in the article, Foxconn never actually expects to “drive suicides to zero,” but that’s partly due to its massive staff size. As described above, its latest hiring round will alone increase its workforce by over three times the combined entire employee size of Apple (about 34,000) and Microsoft (about 89,000).

Of course, this hiring comes at a time when many US tech firms — like HP, which is in the process of cutting 9,000 jobs  — are shedding workers. And, in the same persistent trend…it’s shipping the positions right over to China. You can read more details in Bloomberg’s coverage of Foxconn to hire 400,000 workers within a year.


Rocky Vega,
The Daily Reckoning