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The Forbidden City of Terry Gou

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the not-made-in-newark dept.

Businesses 253

ElvaWSJ writes "Hon Hai churns out iPhones and Wiis, and provides a window into China's secretive world of outsourcing and manufacturing. With a work force of some 270,000 — about as big as the population of Newark, N.J. — the factory is a bustling testament to the ambition of Hon Hai's founder, Terry Gou. In an era when manufacturing has been defined by outsourcing, no one has done more to shift global electronics production to China. Little noticed by the wider world, Mr. Gou has turned his company into China's biggest exporter and the world's biggest contract manufacturer of electronics."

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253 comments

Ah, if only (5, Funny)

Stanistani (808333) | more than 6 years ago | (#20214361)

Can I roam amongst the endless rows of bins filled with our disposable electronic baubles? Please?

I guess it's ... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20214367)

time to learn chinese.

Re:I guess it's ... (2, Interesting)

flu1d (664635) | more than 6 years ago | (#20216459)

I know that comment was probably meant as a joke but its probably a good idea just on a business standpoint. I don't see this Chinese economic train slowing down any time soon.

And unlike so many other Chinese Manufacturers (3, Insightful)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 6 years ago | (#20214403)

He's done so without attempting to poison or kill his own customers.

Re:And unlike so many other Chinese Manufacturers (2, Funny)

subl33t (739983) | more than 6 years ago | (#20214473)

Yeah, just his employees.

Re:And unlike so many other Chinese Manufacturers (2, Insightful)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 6 years ago | (#20215081)

Too bad unions are illegal in China. Unionization was what it took to change that in the United States.

Re:And unlike so many other Chinese Manufacturers (5, Informative)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#20215085)

I guess you didn't read the article.

They get paid $0.60 an hour (a lot in China), but they also get to live rent free, their food is subsidized, and they have free health care. They also get overtime pay and actually do get raises. I wouldn't mind that deal, if I were just starting out of high school and needed to work.

Re:And unlike so many other Chinese Manufacturers (0, Offtopic)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 6 years ago | (#20215169)

I missed that- that's a damn good deal in comparison to Ohio Arts employees, putting together etch-a-sketches for $0.24/hr.....

Re:And unlike so many other Chinese Manufacturers (1)

Nick of NSTime (597712) | more than 6 years ago | (#20215183)

They get paid $0.60 an hour (a lot in China), but they also get to live rent free, their food is subsidized, and they have free health care.

Oh, like the US military!

They also get overtime pay and actually do get raises.

Oh wait, never mind.

Re:And unlike so many other Chinese Manufacturers (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#20216055)

Unlike the military, they are free to find employment elsewhere, and they don't have to worry about being shipped around the world to be blown up by some insurgants.

Re:And unlike so many other Chinese Manufacturers (1)

Danathar (267989) | more than 6 years ago | (#20216049)

And...I bet they buy their food from the "company" owned store not with food but with company "credits" they are given.

You know this was how it was done back in the 19th century. It's close to slavery.

Re:And unlike so many other Chinese Manufacturers (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#20216085)

So go do some research to find out. The article makes it sound like they are paid in yuan. The food is also much cheaper than if they bought it offsite.

It seems conditions are worlds better than other employers in China, and they'd probably rather work for this company than not have a job at all.

Re:And unlike so many other Chinese Manufacturers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20214925)

As far as you know. Also consider the working conditions, pay, benefits (or lack thereof) for the employees.

Re:And unlike so many other Chinese Manufacturers (4, Informative)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 6 years ago | (#20215327)

Hon Hai is known for paying above the regional average and maintaining safer than average working environments. A far cry from living in a comfortable bungalow in California, but it's certainly much better than the average treatment employees get in China.

Re:And unlike so many other Chinese Manufacturers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20215075)

Okay, here are the july 2007 Consumer Product Safety Commission recalls:

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prereljul07.htm l [cpsc.gov]

All American companies.

A few choice quotes:
"the battery can explode and pose a laceration hazard"
"The recalled metal jewelry sets contain high levels of lead."
"cause intestinal perforation or blockage, which can be fatal."
"The blower's impeller, which is a rotating component on the blower, can break, resulting in pieces of plastic flying out of the blower. This poses a risk of serious injury to the user or a bystander."

The chairman of that Chinese toy company who were recently found to have lead paint in one product?
He's committed suicide:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/6943 689.stm [bbc.co.uk]

Now please reconsider your remark.

Re:And unlike so many other Chinese Manufacturers (3, Insightful)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 6 years ago | (#20215239)

You fail to mention that EVERY ONE of those "American companies" buy parts from China- and it's the shoddy, non-unionized workmanship that is failing.

And that the Mattel recall (another American company that hired the Chinese toy company) also covered a heck of a lot more than one product- the recall was 5 PDF pages with pictures of hundreds of different products.

I wonder if the producer of all of those red & yellow Thomas the Tank Engines also killed himself? Or how about the Million Pounds of Fish [news-record.com] intended for human consumption that was subject to an import alert this week?

Re:And unlike so many other Chinese Manufacturers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20216429)

"You fail to mention that EVERY ONE of those "American companies" buy parts from China- and it's the shoddy, non-unionized workmanship that is failing. "

And the products are also designed in China, assembled in China, QC tested in China, and have no parts made anywhere else?

There is nothing on the linked page to suggest that any of the products had anything to do with China at all.
Assuming they do, how can you be sure the particular failures were down to Chinese component manufacturing?

And (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20214431)


biggest polluter.

Worker conditions (4, Interesting)

ktappe (747125) | more than 6 years ago | (#20214435)

Note the interviewee who says that while the living conditions have improved since the BBC publicity last year (the "iPod slaves" story), he says the changes are "incomplete" and seemed afraid to go into more detail or give his full name. I really do wish that buying electronics wouldn't mean supporting companies whose workers have to live in slum conditions. But I really don't know what to do short of writing probably useless letters to Steve Jobs and Michael Dell.

Re:Worker conditions (5, Insightful)

middlemen (765373) | more than 6 years ago | (#20214569)

I really do wish that buying electronics wouldn't mean supporting companies whose workers have to live in slum conditions.

Ok, humanitarian perspective aside. Those workers are now able to provide a their families 2 square meals a day. If companies stop using them, then they go hungry, continue living in slums and you pay more for your beloved techno-gadgets. Right now they are better off than they were earlier and you are happier since you can have the privilege of using an iPod and listening to your choice of music on the go. See win-win scenario...

Re:Worker conditions (5, Insightful)

iamacat (583406) | more than 6 years ago | (#20215263)

Or you could consider that the US company could easily double their salary, reduce work week to, say, 60 hours and fix the most grievous safety hazards - all at the cost of cutting compensation of top executives by half. Just like we are prosecuting ordinary citizens for patronizing child prostitutes in Thailand, we should start going after companies (and their CEOs) that break US labor laws abroad. 5-7 bucks minimum wage per hour is not to expensive for a company, will help 3rd world countries stand up on their feet rather than being cheap slaves and will give US workers at least a slight chance to compete for jobs.

Re:Worker conditions (1, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 6 years ago | (#20215851)

Or you could consider that the US company could easily double their salary, reduce work week to, say, 60 hours and fix the most grievous safety hazards
And they'd be unemployed in less than a year.

 

Re:Worker conditions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20215891)

Is it polite to wake someone from a beautiful dream?

Re:Worker conditions (4, Insightful)

servognome (738846) | more than 6 years ago | (#20215941)

Or you could consider that the US company could easily double their salary, reduce work week to, say, 60 hours and fix the most grievous safety hazards - all at the cost of cutting compensation of top executives by half.
Having worked with companies in China, I can say it's not that easy. Because labor costs are low, companies in asia simply throw people to solve problems rather than automating. They easily employ 10x the number of people to accomplish the same job. What would happen with a western style system is 1 person would have US style benefits running machines, and the other 9 would be unemployed.

I'd rather automate (2, Insightful)

Travoltus (110240) | more than 6 years ago | (#20216141)

If Americans are barred from having manufacturing jobs (which sell to the US market), then hell, why should anyone?

Give us our jobs back or let the machines take over.

Re:Worker conditions (3, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 6 years ago | (#20215889)

Ok, humanitarian perspective aside. Those workers are now able to provide a their families 2 square meals a day. If companies stop using them, then they go hungry, continue living in slums and you pay more for your beloved techno-gadgets.

If they were actually all getting better standards of living, we wouldn't be objecting on humanitarian grounds. Yes, they get a better standard of living, we get products. Everyone wins. The fact that they do it for a fraction of what it would cost here, I guess one lives with because it's an actual opportunity for them and they get to move up the economic ladder. Such things are relative to where you live.

But, when one hears stories about what is outright slavery, workers not getting paid at all, and all of that stuff, then one tends to be a little more worried about how ethical these products are. There are regular stories about appalling things happening in Chinese factories, as well as a lot of shady dealings from sub-sub contractors who nobody seems to be accounting for (like, lead in kids toys for instance).

Personally, I would like a little more assurance that the products I'm buying which are made in China actually have a little fairer labour practice than the worst case we tend to hear about. And, I don't think it's too unrealistic to basically tell the companies using these manufacturers that they really need to be sure of such things. I don't begrudge the workers a chance to make a living -- but, I do expect the parent companies to do more than the most superficial due-diligence to Do The Right Thing.

This is an unfortunate side effect of outsourcing (well, one of many) -- you really have no assurances that the people making the stuff you buy aren't being subject to really awful conditions.

Cheers

Re:Worker conditions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20216115)

Ok, humanitarian perspective aside. Those workers are now able to provide a their families 2 square meals a day. If companies stop using them, then they go hungry, continue living in slums and you pay more for your beloved techno-gadgets. Right now they are better off than they were earlier and you are happier since you can have the privilege of using an iPod and listening to your choice of music on the go. See win-win scenario...
Indeed, let them eat cake...

Re:Worker conditions (5, Insightful)

maillemaker (924053) | more than 6 years ago | (#20214611)

Something to consider here is that in many cases though the job conditions and pay looks terrible to /you/, the actual workers love it compared to what they had.

This is not to say that we nor they should be satisfied with their present lot in life, but rather to say that things are improving. Their economy is primitive by modern standards. It will grow, rapidly, and working conditions will improve - just like they did in our country.

The answer to helping these people advance is not to stop buying their products, which puts them right back where they were - with nothing. The answer is to continue to buy their products, which empowers them and gives them options.

Re:Worker conditions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20215041)

Uh, you mean empowers their government.

That's the real reason why they and every 3rd world country is where it is. China is one of the oldest, largest countries in existence and they have lots of natural resources, why do you think they are still where they are?

Re:Worker conditions (1)

maillemaker (924053) | more than 6 years ago | (#20215439)

>Uh, you mean empowers their government.

No, I meant it empowers the workers. They now have wages where before they had less or none. This allows them to build wealth and improve their lot in life.

>That's the real reason why they and every 3rd world country is where it is. China is one of the oldest,
>largest countries in existence and they have lots of natural resources, why do you think they are still where they are?

That depends, where do you think they "are"? The way I see it, every day they are outstripping where they were the day before. I don't understand what you are trying to say.

Re:Worker conditions (4, Insightful)

onkelonkel (560274) | more than 6 years ago | (#20215071)

I remember my history teacher telling us about working conditions during industrial revolution times in England. Workers (some of them children as young as 6 years old) toiled from sunup to sundown six days a week in dirty noisy horribly dangerous factories for the lowest possible wages.

The point that stuck with me was that hordes of people flocked from the farms to the cities, because horrible as it may have seemed to us, it was still _better_ than the conditions they left behind. On the farms you toiled (men, women and children) from sunup to sundown 7 days a week. Conditions were no less dangerous; farm machines could kill you just as dead as machines in a factory. And on the farm if it didn't rain at the right time, or rained too much, or the bugs came your crop was wiped out and you starved. At least in the mills, as long as you could work you knew you were not going to starve. While "not starving to death" is a pretty minimum standard of living, it sure beats "maybe starving to death"

Re:Worker conditions (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 6 years ago | (#20215617)

The only problem with mills (especially cotton mills) was that while it beat "maybe starving to death" it did add "possibly getting trapped and either killed or losing a limb". Especially if you were one of the young children who were young enough to get between the machines (while they were still running) and clear up the bits of cotton that could otherwise clog the machine.

If anyone lives in the UK then Quarry Bank Mill [quarrybankmill.org.uk] is a good place to go - they even still run one of the machines at times so you get get the starts of an impression of how deaf they must have ended up by the end of the day!

your history teacher was wrong (4, Informative)

rodentia (102779) | more than 6 years ago | (#20216025)


The people had already flocked to the city because they had been evicted from their pastoral livelihood by the Enclosure Laws. The industrial revolution happened substantially due to the critical mass of effectively starved humans ready to make the toil economically and emotionally feasible.

And there were no machines on the farms until the late nineteenth century.

Bread only becomes critical on the farm when the cities find it necessary to keep their machine-minder's bellies full. I am not saying the expropriation of labor by capital is not essential. There is no interpretive value in pretending that it is something other than it is for the sake of whitewashing the motives of the haute bourgeoisie.

Re:Worker conditions (1)

The-Bus (138060) | more than 6 years ago | (#20215097)

The answer to helping these people advance is not to stop buying their products, which puts them right back where they were - with nothing. The answer is to continue to buy their products, which empowers them and gives them options.
You're partly right. Not buying the product certainly won't help that worker, unless you replace the purchase of that product with something that is fair to its workers. The problem is, I don't know who that company is, in electronics at least.

One example I can think of is Blackspot Shoes [adbusters.org] , a "shoe brand" created by the equally loony and insightful AdBusters magazine. At $78/pair, they're more expensive than the Converse All-Stars they copy (which used to be made in the USA).

I'm not in the market for shoes, but it's nice to know.

Re:Worker conditions (1)

keithjr (1091829) | more than 6 years ago | (#20215105)

The answer to helping these people advance is not to stop buying their products, which puts them right back where they were - with nothing. The answer is to continue to buy their products, which empowers them and gives them options.

Unfortunately I won't be able to believe this until I see a more concerted effort on the part of the Chinese labor communities to fight for better living and working conditions. The way things became better for workers in the US was when the prospect of strikes cajoled management into finally acknowledging workers rights. Buying their products just puts more and more money into the ever-growing Chinese plutocracy, and encourages them to maintain the status quo. International pressure would be far more effective.

According to the article, the company's revenue has been growing 50% every year for 10 years. Has the working environment improved proportionally?

Re:Worker conditions (1)

maillemaker (924053) | more than 6 years ago | (#20215417)

>Unfortunately I won't be able to believe this until I see a more concerted effort on the part of the Chinese
>labor communities to fight for better living and working conditions.

It is theirs for the taking, just as it was for us.

>The way things became better for workers in the
>US was when the prospect of strikes cajoled management into finally acknowledging workers rights. Buying their
>products just puts more and more money into the ever-growing Chinese plutocracy, and encourages them to maintain
>the status quo. International pressure would be far more effective.

Did we require international pressure for our economy to grow and our workforce to demand ever-better standards of living? No. Neither will theirs.

Re:Worker conditions (1)

keithjr (1091829) | more than 6 years ago | (#20215589)

Our government was, even back then, much less likely to make an example of a striking workforce. The Chinese government has proven that it is fully willing to use violence against a peaceful protest. In this day and age, workers shouldn't be forced to lay down their lives in order to achieve basic human rights. I'm afraid I just don't have enough faith in China's patience to say "leave it to them to solve the problem."

Re:Worker conditions (1)

maillemaker (924053) | more than 6 years ago | (#20215691)

Well, all I can say is I'm a big proponent of "people get the government they deserve".

Sometimes you have to be willing to lay down your life to achieve basic human rights.

But I think things will improve for them even without such drastic measures. So it has gone with every developing nation that has embraced economic growth.

Re:Worker conditions (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#20215963)

The Chinese government has proven that it is fully willing to use violence against a peaceful protest.
That's okay. They've covered it up so successfully that no one who might start a labour movement in China has heard of it.

you're missing the big picture (1)

Ivan Matveich (998090) | more than 6 years ago | (#20215997)

Hundreds of millions of Chinese peasants are still mired in rural poverty. The price of labor can't rise by much until they are absorbed into the economy, something which will happen in a few decades time.

Re:Worker conditions (2)

xtracto (837672) | more than 6 years ago | (#20215337)

Yeah, I always giggle when I read such kind of post in slashdot referring to the differences in pays of US compared to any other country... the article is actually quite good (yes, I read it /all/, until the paragraph when he says that he is looking for young successor before he gets too old to have good judgement), and the man and factory policies also seem quite nice.

My girlfriend works as a manufacturing Warehouse Manager for an international company in Mexico, she has a Master in Manufacturing and her pay is something like US $1,000 a month. She tells me about the conditions in the factory and the amounts workers get pay. To be payed US $300 a month for 6 day-8 hours/day work would seem ortrageous here in the UK, but for the living expenses in Mexico it is quite good. It might be wise to see comparisons such as the Big Mac Index if you want to know how good or bad you would live with certain salary. [economist.com]

Re:Worker conditions (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#20215527)

Hey, just because your plant is better than a concentration camp, that doesn't make you a humanitarian for exploiting jewish slave labor. These major corporations know damn well that they're exploiting these people--that's why they outsource to China. It's not like they're going there and offering Western-style pay and working conditions.

Re:Worker conditions (1)

maillemaker (924053) | more than 6 years ago | (#20215847)

>Hey, just because your plant is better than a concentration camp, that doesn't make you a humanitarian for
>exploiting jewish slave labor. These major corporations know damn well that they're exploiting these
>people--that's why they outsource to China. It's not like they're going there and offering
>Western-style pay and working conditions.

Of course not - because the locals don't demand such compensation, and even if they did, it could be terribly disruptive to the local economy anyway.

A buddy of mine just got back from Iraq. He was in charge of hiring local Iraqis to clean the bathrooms. Originally they paid the sanitation staff $5/hour. They had to scale their pay back. Why? Because the local merchants discovered that the Iraqis working on base made enough money to afford more expensive goods, so they raised their prices. But the effect was that things were now much worse for all the Iraqis who were not working on base.

Second of all, it isn't exploitation if it is a willing business arrangement by both the employer and the employee. In this case, it's a win-win situation - the employer it getting a less expensive labor force, and the laborers are getting better wages and working conditions than what was available previously.

Re:Worker conditions (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 6 years ago | (#20216325)

Compare their lot to that of US workers in the 1920s and 1930s, and suddenly their compensation looks a lot better.

Re:Worker conditions (3, Insightful)

juuri (7678) | more than 6 years ago | (#20214695)

Well he did say conditons have improved. This may not mean much to us, but it was already well known that foxconn had some of the best factory conditions in the entire industry over there. Do these conditions really meet what we would consider ideal? No, but an improvement is an improvement. I would submit that most Americans have no idea how bad factory work is, even without our own country. If you want to be truly disgusted by the treatment of workers and the quality of their environment take yourself to the nearest chicken factory or any other "plant" with is obviously skirting the edges of legality.

China moves slow traditionally but as they develop a real middle class, the lower class conditions will improve becaue of increased internal spending and more attitudes similiar to those in more developed nations.

Re:Worker conditions (4, Insightful)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 6 years ago | (#20214749)

Easy- start buying the products that are $5000 instead of $500....that is, the ones that you can verify were made in the USA out of components created from raw materials in the USA.

Valid point - not a troll (1)

subl33t (739983) | more than 6 years ago | (#20214885)

mod parent up.

You want sweat-free electronics? Be prepared to shell out $$$.

Re:Valid point - not a troll (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 6 years ago | (#20215099)

Another part would be to make sure there are robust barriers keeping those electronics out.

Re:Valid point - not a troll (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 6 years ago | (#20215495)

Just remember that enacting such barriers WILL cost the end-consumer. There's no way to get around the differences between a minimum wage of $8/hr, a minimum wage of $0.32/hr, or an unionized employee's $15/hr wages. Want worker protections? We're going to have to pay. On the other hand, paying this way means more people to buy YOUR products as well. None of us are making anything cheap.

Re:Worker conditions (1)

ThosLives (686517) | more than 6 years ago | (#20215039)

Hrm. There's also the opposite method which in theory could work but never will on paper:

You can start accepting less payment for everything you do, and make sure you can still get by. This will lower the cost of all the goods based on your efforts, so that will make US goods more competitive in the world market. Cool!

Oh, wait, that doesn't work like that, does it...why don't other people lower their prices if I lower mine again?

Re:Worker conditions (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 6 years ago | (#20215127)

I'm not sure- I tried it while I was unemployed for 2 years in the early part of the decade- for my customers, the cost of setting up their computers and LANs and broadband connections dropped to half what the professionals charged. Funny though, I couldn't afford housing or food on that....

Well you can do two things (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 6 years ago | (#20214903)

One would be to do some research and see how the conditions are, relative to others in China. Remember you always have to compare things on an equal scale. You can't expect that someone in China will be paid US wages and live in the same style as in the US. Not only would that not work economically (no reason to outsource) but it could actually severely upset the economy if that happened on a wide scale. So first see if things are actually good, comparatively speaking. If they are, and if the money they bring in is helping raise the standard of living for the workers, then maybe you find that you are ok with how it is.

The second would be to buy good from the US, Canada, Europe, and so on. Now you are correct in that you are going to have your options limited. However that's what you have to accept if you want to stick to this. You can expect to pay quite a bit more and have less choice. In the case of electronics, generally you have to look for professional goods. The margins are higher, the expected quality is higher, so they are often produced in the country the company is based in. There are compensations, though, in that the goods will generally be higher quality both in terms of function and reliability (hence why they cost more and are targeted at professionals).

Re:Worker conditions (0)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 6 years ago | (#20215067)

One more case proving that nothing justifies slave labor, not even the misguided folks replying to your thread stating such.

Re:Worker conditions (1)

sholden (12227) | more than 6 years ago | (#20215141)

It was all flowers and joy for workers back in the early factories (and mines) of England when that whole industrial revolution thing got off the ground...

Or maybe it transitions from shitty lives working in the fields, to shitty (but less so) lives working in factories, and then when the people actually get enough income to care about such things the conditions start improving - due to workers out numbering factory owners...

You can try and skip all that I guess, but that last great leap forward didn't turn out so well.

Those factory workers are not usually slaves, they can walk away and return to subsistence farming, but that sucks even more hence they don't. Little steps, great leaps don't work...

Re:Worker conditions (1)

leoc (4746) | more than 6 years ago | (#20215153)

And how much does anyone, including the Apple reps who went to inspect the place, really see? They admit at the beginning of the article that many parts of the plant are off-limits and protected by a 1000 member strong security force. For a company headed by a man who says he idolizes Genghis Khan you would have expected a little more research into the ethical practices of the company. Mind you, since this is an article in the Wall Street Journal, I am not surprised they spent more time talking about the guys wealth and his company's income than they did investigating the working conditions or environmental practices in his factories.

Re:Worker conditions (1)

Sunburnt (890890) | more than 6 years ago | (#20215523)

Mind you, since this is an article in the Wall Street Journal, I am not surprised they spent more time talking about the guys wealth and his company's income than they did investigating the working conditions or environmental practices in his factories.

At least the WSJ hasn't been fully "Rupertized" yet. At that point, they'll probably spend the entirety of these articles asserting that Chinese entrepeneurs' successes are proof that we should all go back to living in company towns, where the evil libruhls won't be able to poison our minds with their propaganda.

Re:Worker conditions (1)

an.echte.trilingue (1063180) | more than 6 years ago | (#20215231)

But I really don't know what to do short of writing probably useless letters to Steve Jobs and Michael Dell.
This is going to sound overly simplistic, but why don't you stop buying consumer electronics if it really bothers you? I mean, nobody needs an iPod or a PC at home...

Overheard at the Hon Hai watercooler (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20214461)

me so horny

me love you long time

me so horny

boom boom long time

You go, Gou! (5, Funny)

aapold (753705) | more than 6 years ago | (#20214499)

Now that Rupert Murdoch owns the WSJ, I would have expected headlines more in line with, say, the New York post.... you know, like....

Don't have a Gou, man!

Holy Gou!

Gouabunga!

Pass Gou, collect $200 (billion)

Is that to Gou?

Gou on the bandwagon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20215111)

Gou west, young man!

You're gouging me!

Oh, gou on!

Gougeres, anyone?

Let's gou surfin' now

Gou-ntown -- things will be great when you're
Gou-ntown -- don't wait a minute more
Gou-ntown -- everything's waiting for you...

2 cents (1)

GodCandy (1132301) | more than 6 years ago | (#20214577)

regardless of the working/living conditions of his staff the man is doing well. I would venture to guess that I could walk around my office (also our companies computer room) and would find that 80% of the devices in here have some part from one of his companies.

Its sad that people are forced to live that way but if they were not the cost of a sata cable would be 5X what it is now.

Re:2 cents (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20214855)

Die in a fire you fucking cock loving piece of shit.

Re:2 cents (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20214929)

Exactly. I am also happy that kids in developing countries help keep the cost of our T-shirts, toys, and electronics down. If it weren't for those nimble little hands, I'd probably still be stuck with that bulky TV I traded for a nice flat screen last year.

Re:2 cents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20215129)

You're... you're sort of a douche, aren't you?

Shenzhen again!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20214615)

Ok, this is interesting that this article is on the same day as "Largest People Tracking with RFID" and "Karl Rove leaves White House."

Is Karl gearing up for "RoveMart?"

Amazing. (1)

AltGrendel (175092) | more than 6 years ago | (#20214625)

The article reads like something that should be in a William Gibson [wikipedia.org] book.

Re:Amazing. (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 6 years ago | (#20214739)

The article reads like something that should be in a William Gibson book.
The secretive factory sounds like something out of a Roald Dahl [wikipedia.org] book.

You know it's a slow news day... (0)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 6 years ago | (#20214631)

You know it's a slow news day when the "articles" that get approved on SlashDot are real articles from a real newspaper.

Next time why not just get to the point: "Quit wasting time reading SlashDot, there's more interesting stuff going on in the Wall Street Journal."

"Get to the point?" The posts are the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20214919)

The WSJ is always a great read, but it limits you to sending email to, in this case, Jason Dean. I'd probably want to read the story before I did something like that, but with slashdot I can quickly fire off a pedantic response to some other idiot's post.

Pfft... Propaganda is More Accurate (1, Interesting)

mpapet (761907) | more than 6 years ago | (#20214943)

It's more accurately described as well-polished propaganda. Clearly, Hon Han has hired Public Relations representatives for some other agenda.

This story would lead me to believe they want to buy Western consumer electronics brands. http://investing.reuters.co.uk/news/articleinvesti ng.aspx?type=media&storyID=nTP151265 [reuters.co.uk]

Or maybe do it themselves: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB118470395184169274 .html?mod=yahoo_hs&ru=yahoo [wsj.com]

Either way, this "story" is so light on facts and any objectivity whatsoever it hardly resembles journalism. Since the WSJ is "reporting" it, it will not be scrutinized.

   

Re:You know it's a slow news day... (1)

evil agent (918566) | more than 6 years ago | (#20215475)

Didn't you watch Men In Black? You'll find the real news in the Weekly World News.

I, for one, welcome our... (1)

Will the Chill (78436) | more than 6 years ago | (#20214721)

iPhone-sweatshop Chinese-outsourcing secret-city overlords!

-WtC

*please insert sig for 2 more minutes*

The world's first living Simpson's episode (4, Funny)

krou (1027572) | more than 6 years ago | (#20214759)

FTA:

In addition to its dozens of assembly lines and dormitories, Longhua has a fire brigade, hospital and employee swimming pool, where Mr. Gou does early morning laps when he is there. Restaurants, banks, a grocery store and an Internet cafe line the company town's main drag. More than 500 monitors around the campus show exercise programs, worker-safety videos and company news produced by the in-house television network, Foxconn TV. Even the plant's manhole covers are stamped "Foxconn."

Is it just me, or could I replace "Longhua" with "Cypress Creek", "Mr. Gou" with Hank Scorpio, and "Foxconn" with "Globex Corporation", and we'd have the world's first living simulation of a Simpsons episode?

I've heard the Chinese were good at imitation, but this seems to be going just a bit too far ...

Re:The world's first living Simpson's episode (1)

andphi (899406) | more than 6 years ago | (#20215091)

I think you missed a chance at a +5 funny: "The Simpsons already did it."

Unless you were shooting for +5 insightful?

Re:The world's first living Simpson's episode (1)

krou (1027572) | more than 6 years ago | (#20215173)

Funny will do, but if people find it insightful, who am I to judge?

Is the work week same in China for overtime ? (2, Interesting)

wikiliki (1117141) | more than 6 years ago | (#20214783)

TFA states that they can make even more with overtime. I always assume that means more than 40+ hours, and time and a half. But I'm am unfamiliar with other countries labor laws. Anyone know if this is the case ? If not, when do they get the overtime, and at what rate ?

Re:Is the work week same in China for overtime ? (2, Informative)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 6 years ago | (#20215621)

I don't know about Shenzhen or most of the rest of China, but where I came from in Asia the work day is 6 days a week, 8-10 hours a day. Overtime is paid at par (i.e. there is no bonus), but people love it anyway. Workers in these factory-cities don't have much of a life besides making money and sending most of it back home - so an opportunity to make even more cash with time they wouldn't spent doing diddly squat anyways seems appealing.

Some companies pay out mid-year bonuses based on company performance. This can sometimes be worth up to 4 months of normal wages. It's a cultural thing that simply doesn't exist in North America, and it's like a little Christmas in the middle of the fiscal year.

And on a similar topic... (1)

achbed (97139) | more than 6 years ago | (#20214791)

It was reported today that the factory boss who presided over the Mattel lead-painted toy manufacturing has killed himself [washingtonpost.com] . These factory towns are so supported by the local and national Chinese governments, that anything goes. Yes, the conditions at most factories are better than they were, but they are so far below US standards it's scary. Also, since most of the Chinese government wants to have people working in these factories to keep their economy growing, the factory bosses essentially becone the local government. We're back to the dark ages of the Industrial Revolution, but now it's government-enforced. And it's all paid for by you and me! Yay globalization!

Wow that rant went a lot of places, didn't it?

National Chinese vs. Local Chinese (2, Insightful)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 6 years ago | (#20214957)

These factory towns are so supported by the local and national Chinese governments, that anything goes.


Often the national Chinese government wants to clamp down on the factories but can't because they lack the resources to do so and are opposed by the factory's home government. (Similar to the U.S. EPA vs. city governments bought and sold by the local factory.)

Also, since most of the Chinese government wants to have people working in these factories to keep their economy growing...


Actually, the Chinese government is now more concerned about making sure China builds out its white collar jobs more now; the factories are doing fine on their own.

We're back to the dark ages of the Industrial Revolution, but now it's government-enforced.


Even in the U.S., the government was quite active on the side of the factories during the Industrial Revolution - look up "strike riot united states" for taste of some of that.

Yay globalization!


As opposed to what? Living in mud huts making stone necklaces for each other?

Wow that rant went a lot of places, didn't it?


Yes, it kind of did. Maybe it's time to hit the books a little harder...

Re:And on a similar topic... (1)

Fnord666 (889225) | more than 6 years ago | (#20214985)

It was reported today that the factory boss who presided over the Mattel lead-painted toy manufacturing has killed himself.
Now if we could just convince Enron management to follow this example...

Re:And on a similar topic... (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#20215639)

The dude killed himself because he knew that if he didn't, the Chinese government was about too. They take a VERY harsh view [wikipedia.org] of economic scandal there.

Interesting Plant Layout... (2, Insightful)

tgatliff (311583) | more than 6 years ago | (#20214895)

Quite interesting that FoxComm has put all of its operations in one spot. This is something that US plants are not known for, and I suspect it is due to all types of single point failures such as power, water, and other facilities. One advantage of doing this, though, is that having all 270K of employees makes providing things such as hospitals and other ammenities. I wonder how much US manufactures thought about this in the early days... Meaning, why doesnt Boeing have their own hospital?

Re:Interesting Plant Layout... (2, Informative)

paitre (32242) | more than 6 years ago | (#20215137)

The did in the early days of American Manufacturing - Company Towns.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Company_town [wikipedia.org]

Although here, they were more traditionally mining and refining businesses, not outright manufacturing.

Re:Interesting Plant Layout... (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 6 years ago | (#20215745)

Pah, they're not company towns. Port Sunlight [wikipedia.org] in the UK was a company town (built by Lord Leverhulme for the workers at the Lever Brothers soap factory). Being 1880s, I think it beats most American attempts at company towns (although I've never seen the shops in it, but then I've mainly been to the Lady Lever Art Gallery) :)

Re:Interesting Plant Layout... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20215269)

That's because China doesn't have to worry about Al Qaeda...

Re:Interesting Plant Layout... (1)

Sunburnt (890890) | more than 6 years ago | (#20215835)

They will once their economic interests compel military involvement in the Middle East.

Photos and another viewpoint (4, Informative)

The-Bus (138060) | more than 6 years ago | (#20214949)

Wired had a great photo gallery of factories and assembly lines [wired.com] in China.

And here is a write-up [bunniestudios.com] about someone from Chumby Industries [chumby.com] visiting Shenzhen to get their production line up-to-date. It's more about the area than anything about the factory.

I'm not even THINKING what I'm thinking... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20215019)

"eggs in a basket"... One well placed earthquake...

Kharma-scraping Google Maps link to Hon Hai (1)

Uninvited Guest (237316) | more than 6 years ago | (#20215123)

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=F oxconn+OR+Longhua&sll=22.683242,114.04727&sspn=0.0 63274,0.107803&ie=UTF8&ll=22.661304,114.066153&spn =0.063284,0.107803&t=h&z=14&om=1

Interesting place. Unless the Google imagery is horribly out of date, the Hon Hai facility has plenty of room to expand.

They didn't take your jobs... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20215351)

I object to the tag "theytookourjobs". They certainly didn't. America as a whole gladly handed over those jobs, the corporations in pursuit of greater profits and the public in pursuit of lower prices. It was, IMO, a very short-sighted mistake, but one that's likely too late to rectify.

Re:They didn't take your jobs... (1)

Sunburnt (890890) | more than 6 years ago | (#20215651)

It's a South Park reference, and so only as idiotic as most tags, not more so.

The OTHER Forbidden City of Terry Gou (1)

MooseDontBounce (989375) | more than 6 years ago | (#20215539)

It's all a front for his HUGH kung-fu training program where, yearly and in secret, he gathers the worlds best in various martial arts disciplines for no-holds-barred death matches. I also hear that this year they will hold ping-pong matches too! We can only hope that somewhere, a man is currently being recruited by British Intelligence to put a STOP to all this!
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