back to article iPhone manufacturer to shutter China factories

Foxconn – the massive Taiwan-based contract manufacturer whose clients include Apple, Dell, HP, Intel, Sony, and others – will shutter its mainland China operations in a restructuring that could move as many as 800,000 workers into the ranks of the unemployed. This news comes by way of the Chinese-language news site ON.CC — a …


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  1. 46Bit


    How to stop people calling you evil:

    Step 1: Promise to raise wages a lot to hopefully make life more tolerable for your worker drones that probably aren't committing suicide any higher than typical people in China but that people say are.

    Step 2: Quietly as possible, shut down everywhere you're increasing wages, move elsewhere, have the new drones on the old rates (or even lower...), and make sure all the buildings are only one-story high.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    You are getting a raise!

    Oh, by the way you are fired.

  3. ratfox
    Thumb Down

    Good move

    I bet that will help the suicide rates.

    800'000 people?? Thank god this is in China and not, say, Swtzerland...

    1. Nicholas Smith

      Yeah thank god!

      Damn right! Because thats a drop in the ocean in China!

      It's still 800k people, who'll probably end in crappier jobs.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    No love lost between Taiwan and China

    I suppose it's an easy decision for Foxconn, and perhaps it has something to do with the fact that the Chinese Communists would invade Taiwan within the hour if the West weren't so sensitive about that sort of thing.

    Jolly Rodger for "prepare to be boarded" and all that

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Go capitalism!

    This should help persuade the downtrodden masses in the worker's state that capitalism and democracy are the way to go!

  6. Sim~


    I wonder if the workers get this publications paper on site?

  7. The_Police!
    Thumb Down


    So they promise an increase in wages and then throw everyone out. Way to go Foxconn.

  8. Thomas 4

    Well, we can either invest in proper employee care...

    ....or we can move the whole factory to a country that gives even less of a damn about its workers than China.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Way to retain public image while keeping costs low!

    Sure you can have a pay rise...

    ... while we build a factory somewhere the labour is even cheaper.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Wait And See

    ...where they will find 800000 cheap Taiwanese

    ...where they will find 800000 skilled Vietnamese

    ...where they will find 800000 skilled Indians

    ...where they will find more than 0.7 hectares in India to build a factory

    This is all idle talk. This company will stay in China for at least the next ten years. China is the ideal place for this kind of manufacturing and that won't change soon.

  11. JimBob 2

    "Make sure you make the announcement after the iPhone4 launches.

    We don't want the plight of 800 thousand people distracting from our utopian 'Apple' view of the world."

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    They cant do that!!

    They cant fire those workers until I get my iPhone 4!

    AC - because it's my guilty pleasure

  13. Dazed and Confused


    China is obviously no longer the cheapest place to manufacture the products. The only reason for making them in China was that it was cheap. While is was cheap work poured into China, as soon as someone else can do it cheaper then the work will pour out. If Apple could get their phones/gadgets made in Cupertino as cheaply they would (let's face it Apple could probably afford too) but China was much cheap and therefore more profitable.

    As soon as you loose your edge, you loose.

    1. Ascylto

      Loosely put

      "As soon as you loose your edge, you loose."

      Still dazed and confused are we?


    2. Anonymous Coward

      Theoretically True

      Only that in reality there are very few places that can really compete with China. Vietnam, maybe for some limited stuff.

      India probably not because it is so backwards that even Indian companies are troubled to simply buy enough land for a facility. In addition to problems of corruption and lots of half-brained politicos.

      Africa can be ruled out completely (because of political instability, corruption) and most other places either don't have the population or are highly corrupt (latin america) and/or more expensive than these "expensive" Chinese workers.

      China are still 1300 million people, of which at least 300 million are still poor peasants. They work hard and there are qualified people (managers, technicians) available to do the supervisory work. Peasants alone cannot assemble a phone.

      Also, Chinese people have a strong work ethic and that's what makes the difference.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      It's becoming a lot more expensive to manufacture in China that's for sure. Labour shortages are currently one of my biggest gripes (I'm a buyer for a UK electronics retailer) A huge number of Chinese workers never returned to the factories after Chinese New Year because the gap in wages from Rural work and factory work is diminishing all the time. Why travel 5,000 miles from your family for a few pence more an hour?. Not only is this putting prices up (having to pay more *just* to fill a production line) but it's often pushing out manufacturing lead-times due to decreased capacity.

  14. sabroni Silver badge

    stock market should take some blame

    when Foxconn announced pay rises the share price plummeted. Management can't afford to ignore this. What's the betting that shutting this factory puts the shares back up again?

    When I worked for a large IT company they regularly announced redundancies (once a year for about 3 years) and every time they did the share prices went up.

  15. Chris Hatfield

    I feel for those poor employees in China

    This is going to be a massive blow for their morale, obviously.

  16. CrysXP

    If I was the CEO

    I would fire everybody and get the plant fully automated. Robots don't eat, take shits, have tea breaks and they certainly don't jump off buildings. Call it cruel, I call it evolution. I think its more cruel to have people doing repetitive robotic work for long hours on end. The fact that there will be allot of people unemployed is a social problem.

    They see there is overpopulation and low employment rates and STILL they breed. Where is the logic in that? There is no logic, only primitive human emotions. I see no reason why this production line can't be fully automated in the day and age where we have large industrial robots with micrometer precision.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I guess whatever repeatative IT job you do could also be automated in that case. I'm sure one of the many large automation could do a pretty good job of emulating you.

      Of course, we don't do that, as we know in the long run it can be quite a bad idea.

      China actually deserves the Foxconn jobs, but it's impossible to argue Taiwan has very good automation mixed with skilled technicians to assemble items. In terms of volume China would win, so I can't see 800,000 jobs moving.

      I've worked in China mainland, so perhaps have a better idea of what will and wont work than others here.

    2. JayB

      Re: If I were the CEO

      Ahhhh, cheers CrysXP, I love it when a clueless troll goes off on one like that.

      I have dealt with hi tech manufacturing for over a decade, and trust me, you CAN'T replace every soul in an electronics manufacturing facility with a robot. What happens when something breaks? What happens when stuff is "non-standard"? What happens when a process moves out of tolerance? What happens when a machine runs out of a consumable such as solder?

      You call it cruel, you call it evolution - I'll call it "cloud freakin' cuckoo land".

      Either bugger off and stop watching Star Trek and assuming that's the state of play, or go back to sitting under your bridge bothering billy goats.

      1. CrysXP

        Um....yea, about that

        To be honest I don't think there is any technical reasons why my job couldn't be automated. There is, however, a very obvious financial reason why a small company with under 50 employees would never be able to afford doing automation. I don't doubt that you have dealt with electronics manufacturing for over a decade, but if anything that tells me your probably one of those guys that checked it out back in the 1990's and now assumes nothing has changed since then.

        Modern automation has changed allot since back in your day where it was all pre-programed actions that wouldn't account for any level of deviation. It's not so much the bots but the control software that has evolved significantly. I know its 'politically correct' to respond to anyone promoting automation negatively, but what's politically correct isn't always intelligent. Allot of people made negative comments towards James Dyson when he chose to set up a fully automated manufacturing plant, but that same plant now churns out over a million Dyson SR motors a year with exceptionally low levels of defect.

        It's about moving forward, and I'm sorry if your opposed to that.

  17. disgruntled yank


    Fifteen or twenty years ago the NY Times business section had an article on an American businessman who had demonstrated that US companies could compute in the disk drive market. An executive summary appeared to be a) put your factories in Malaysia, b) lay off staff at the first sign of a weakening market.

  18. Ted Treen
    Jobs Halo

    So why... it iPhone manufacturer again?

    Strip down almost any Windows box and you'll find a host of Foxconn products inside, but oh wait a minute; that won't resonate with El Reg's current agenda of "Let's all mock Apple, to show we're so cool & so intelligent, we're entirely unaffected by Apple's marketing. Instead, we'll remain fans of Windows" - which has to be the best example of successful marketing of a mediocre product ever.

    1. sabroni Silver badge

      fans of windows!?!?!

      is this the only Reg article you've ever read?

  19. Aron

    Elitism and imperialism today

    This is what happens when couch potato do-gooders in the West stick their noses where they don't belong. People lose jobs and die. But who cares, right? They're just Asians.

    Imagine where Britain would be if we were told in the 19th century that we could not have workhouses or factories with any form of cheap labour. Britons would have been poorer off and cutting each other's throats.

    1. Captain Underpants
      Thumb Down

      @ Aron


      I don't think it was the couch potato do-gooders who mounted an investigation into a factory with an apparently aberrant number of worker "suicides", and frankly the notion that a company with a potential worker health/safety/morale issue as evidenced by such a suicide rate should be left alone because "interfering will lose jobs" is pretty damn scary. Yes, jobs are important - but not so important that any company should be allowed to do whatever they want, no matter the cost to their employees health (be it mental or physical).

      Having said that, as a general principle I do agree that there is a foolish notion in the Western world of being able to wander into a completely different culture for 5 minutes, fix a problem without regarding or addressing its cultural connotations, and then leave. You'd think we'd learn, eventually, but not thus far...

      1. rixt53

        re: "Western World"

        We can think whatever we want, makes no difference. Foxconn is not a "Western World" company. I'm pretty sure they know what the rules are in the neighborhood.

  20. Lotus 80

    I for one...


  21. pctechxp

    Proof that Apple ships overpriced shit

    Try using a Foxconn motherboard.

    ASUStek are much better

  22. Phil Koenig

    Non-Chinese companies treated differently

    It was striking to me that various recent news items about labour disputes in China largely concerned non-Chinese firms with factories in China. (Honda, Foxconn/HonHai)

    It is my understanding that historically it has been very difficult to organize any form of labor dispute in China, and the Chinese authorities typically ban any news coverage of them should they actually occur. Whereas we are seeing quite a bit of coverage of these recent disputes involving foreign-owned factories.

    In that light, it doesn't surprise me too much that Foxconn might be inclined to pull out of China. This could in fact represent a certain form of trade protectionism on the part of Chinese authorities.

    As to why the western media focuses on "Apple" factories - that's easy: Apple is the hottest brand in tech right now, and the biggest target. Not to mention, Apple's claimed warm/fuzzy corporate culture is most at odds with the idea of using sweatshops to assemble their kit.

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