Foxconn Unionizing?

Hell got a little colder today.

The ‘Sale’ of Foxconn

Foxconn Precision Electronics, the cellphone manufacturing arm of — guess who? — Foxconn, is for sale.

Well, actually it has been sold.

To Foxconn.

Allow me to explain. Hon Hai, which trades under the Foxconn name, has myriad subsidiaries. Some of those subsidiaries have other subsidiaries. Despite the growing handset market, FPE’s parent, Foxconn International Holdings, has been losing money — $218 million last year alone. So despite sales of $6.63 billion last year, FPE  has been sold to China Prime Rich Holdings, a wholly owned subsidiary of — wait for it — Hon Hai.

If that wasn’t awkward enough, the sale price was HK$550.4 million, which in US currency is $70.7 million.

In other words, Foxconn bought from Foxconn an entity the size of Celestica for about four days’ worth of revenue. No word yet what the company directors paid themselves for what must have been an exhausting maneuver.

Only in China.

 

Gou Motors On

Under different circumstances, would Foxconn’s Terry Gou be considered the second coming of Henry Ford?

This Business Week article suggests so. I’ll have to study my Henry Ford history, because while the piece breaks little new ground, it is filled with Gou quotes that are ironically delicious: “Work itself is a type of joy”; “A harsh environment is a good thing”; “Hungry people have especially clear minds”;  “An army of one thousand is easy to get, one general is tough to find.”

All this from a man worth an estimated $5.9 billion. It doesn’t sound like the man who said of the Model T, “”When I’m through, everybody will be able to afford one, and about everybody will have one.”

Also, the new Madison Avenue p.r. agency’s touch is coming through, as Business Week reports on how Guo’s family fled the China and the Mao-led Communists in the late 1940s. There also is background fodder on his personal family tragedies — his wife and son both died of cancer in the same year — and how he practices yoga and regularly takes his 85-year-old mother for Taiwanese noodles.

The article attempts to smooth over criticism of the employee suicides (calling it a classic cluster, despite evidence by the Wall Street Journal to the contrary), and completely misses the boat on how overtime works in China, finding several workers who say they welcome the extra hours, without bothering to acknowledge the reason they work OT is because they need the money.

The gold nuggets come when Gou intimates his strategy to move workers off the company rolls and onto the government’s. “I think we need to change the way things are. Businesses should be focused on business and social responsibility should be government responsibility.” Comparisons of Foxconn to Wal-Mart sound more apt than ever before.

I don’t expect a smear job. However, this piece has the fingerprints of a PR agency at its finest all over it. Read it with that in mind.

Just Who is Hon Hai?

Curious as to just who is Hon Hai, better known as Foxconn? Here is a list of its holdings in China, along with a synopsis of what the unit does:

  • Fu Ding Precision Component (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd. Manufacturing and marketing of computer components, computers
  • Champ Tech Optical (Foshan) Corporation    Optical lens
  • Hongfujin Precision Industry (Wuhan) Co., Ltd.       Manufacturing and marketing of molds and tooling
  • Foxconn Precision Component (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd.            Manufacturing and marketing of computer cases
  • HongHengSheng Electronical Technology (Huaian) Co., Ltd.          Printed circuit board products manufacturing and sales
  • Fukui Precision Component (ShenZhen) Co., Ltd.    Printed circuit board products manufacturing and sales
  • Futaijing Precision Electronics (Beijing) Co., Ltd.     Manufacturing and marketing of computer components, computers
  • System Integration Electronics (Hangzhou) Co.,Ltd.            Electronic components, network
  • Hongfujin Precision Electronics (Chongqing) Co., Ltd.        Computer chassis and metal stamping parts
  • FU-SIN Precision Component (Huaian) Ltd. Manufacturing and marketing of computer components, computers
  • Fu Jin Shun Precision Industry (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd Manufacturing and marketing of computer components, computers
  • Fuhuajie Industrial (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd.       Manufacturing and marketing of computer components, computers
  • Foxconn Precision Electronics (Lang Fang) Co., Ltd.           Manufacturing and marketing of handset and components
  • Ambit Microsystems (Zhong Shan) Corporation        Manufacturing and marketing of computer components, computers
  • Foxconn Shenyang Precision Industry Co.,Ltd.        Numeric control machine tool manufacturing
  • Honyeh Precision Component (Kunshan) Co., Ltd    Manufacturing and marketing of computer components, computers
  • Foxconn Goodfield Precision Industry (Dalian) Co., Ltd.    Manufacturing and marketing of auto part related product
  • Foxconn (Tian Jin) Technology Co., Ltd.       Manufacturing and marketing of handset component product
  • Shenzhen Fu Tai Hong Precision Industry Co., Ltd. Manufacturing and marketing of computer cases
  • Yantai Zheng Yi Precision Electronics Co., Ltd.       Manufacturing and marketing of monitoring device
  • Fulin Electronical Technology (Changshu) Co.,Ltd.  Manufacturing and marketing of computer components, computers
  • Fuyang Electronical Technology (Changshu) Co.,Ltd.          Manufacturing and marketing of computer components, computers
  • Fu Tai Kang Electronice Development (YanTai) Co.,Ltd.     Marketing of computer chassis and metal stamping parts
  • Hongfujin Precision Industry (Qinhuangdao) Co.,Ltd.         Connector related business
  • Hong Tai Precision Industrial (Hang Zhou)Co., Ltd. Router and related modules and components
  • Hong Fu Jin Precision Electronics (YanTai) Co., Ltd.           Manufacturing and marketing of computer components, computers
  • Honxun Electrical Industry (Hangzhou) Co., Ltd      Manufacturing and marketing of computer cases
  • Alibaba (China) Software Co., Ltd.   Software and technology services
  • Futaikang Precision Component (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd           Manufacturing and marketing of computer components, computers
  • Hongzhun Precision Tooling (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd.    Manufacturing and marketing of computer cases
  • Antec Auto Electric System (Kunshan) Co.   Auto electronics and auto wire harness
  • Amworld Microsystems (shanghai) Ltd.        Manufacturing and marketing of data networking products
  • Hongqunsheng Precision Electronics (Yingkou) Co., Ltd.    Printed circuit board products manufacturing and sales
  • Hongqisheng Precision Electronics (Qinhuangdao) Co., Ltd.            Printed circuit board products manufacturing and sales
  • Amlink(Shanghai)Ltd.     Manufacturing and marketing of computer components, computers
  • Foxconn (Nanjing) Communications Co.,Ltd.           Manufacturing and marketing of handset and components
  • Kangzhun Precision Tooling (Kunshan)Co., Ltd.      Manufacturing and marketing of computer components, computers
  • Fuyu Electronical Technology (Huaian) Co., Ltd.     Manufacturing and marketing of computer components, computers
  • Fu Meng Electronical Technology (Huaian) C.., Ltd.            Manufacturing and marketing of connector and cable products
  • Fuzhun Precision Tooling (Huaian) Co., Ltd. Manufacturing and marketing of computer components, computers
  • CJ Electric Systems Co., Ltd. Auto electronics and auto wire harness
  • Dong Guan Hong Song Precision Component Co., Ltd.       Manufacturing and marketing of computer components, computers
  • Fu Xiang Precision Industrial (Kunshan)Co., Ltd.     Manufacturing and marketing of computer components, computers
  • Foxconn Precision Electrons (Yantai) Co., Ltd.         Manufacturing and marketing of computer components, computers
  • Alibaba (China) Technology Co., Ltd.           Software and technology services
  • Foxconn (Nanjing) Software Co., Ltd.          Computer Software, hardware and other digital product
  • Alibaba (Shanghai) Technology Co., Ltd.      Software and technology services
  • Foxconn Precision Component (Beijing) Co., Ltd.    Manufacturing of telecommunication cases
  • Fujin Precision Industry (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd.           Manufacturing of telecommunication cases
  • Dong Guan Eson Precision Tooling Co., Ltd.            Manufacturing and marketing of telecommunication cases
  • Kunshan Eson Precision Engineering Co.,Ltd.          Manufacturing and marketing of electronic components
  • Wuxi XinGuan Metal Science & Technology Co.,Ltd.          Manufacturing and marketing of plastic mould
  • Kunshan Eson Technology Inc.          Manufacturing and marketing of computer components, computer
  • Hongfuqiang Precision Electronics (Yingkou) Co.,Ltd.        Manufacturing and marketing of computer components, computers
  • Fuding Electronical Technology (Jiashan) Co.,Ltd    Manufacturing and marketing of computer components, computers
  • Futaije Science & Technology Development(Shenzhen) Co., Ltd.    Manufacturing and design of computer components
  • Fuhon Precision Component (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd.    Manufacturing and design of computer components
  • Beijing Sinya Online Information Technology Co., Ltd.       Software and technology services
  • MediaMarkt (Shanghai) Commercial & Trading Company Limited  3C
  • Ambit Microsystems (Shanghai) Ltd. Manufacturing and marketing of computer components, computers
  • Hong Fu Tai Tooling (Yan Tai) Co., Ltd.       Components of automatic data process equipment
  • Yantai Jiray Electronic Technology Co., Ltd.            Manufacturing and marketing of monitoring device
  • Competition Media Technology (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd.          Pick up head
  • Foxconn Electronic Industrial Development (Kunshan) Co., Ltd.    Manufacturing and marketing of computers
  • Foxconn (Tian Jin)Precision Industry Co., Ltd.         Manufacturing and marketing of computer components, computers
  • Premier Image Technology (China) Limited  Camera Production
  • Foxconn Precision Electronics (Tai Yuan) Co., Ltd.  Manufacturing and marketing of computer components, computers
  • Foxconn Computer Connectors (Kunshan) Co., Ltd.            Manufacturing of connectors
  • GDS Software (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd. Computer Software, hardware and other digital product
  • Futaihua Industry (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd.         Manufacturing and marketing of computer components, computers
  • Liuzhou Antec Fangsheng Electric System Co., Ltd.            Auto Electronics and Auto Wire harness
  • FuHonYang Precision Industrial (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd.         Manufacturing and marketing of computer components, computers
  • HonFuJin Precision Industry (HuiZhou) Co., Ltd.    Manufacturing and marketing of computer
  • Fugion Material Technology (Shenzhen) Limited      Managing, Developing and manufacturing advanced
  • Hongzhun Precision Tooling (Kunshan) Co ., Ltd     Manufacturing and marketing of computer components, computers
  • Foxconn (Qin Huang Dao) Limited   backlight and antenna components
  • HongHuaSheng Precision Electronics (YanTai) Co., Ltd.     Printed circuit board products manufacturing and sales
  • Hong Fujin Precision Industrial (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd.           Manufacturing and marketing of computer components, computers
  • Guangzhou OED Technologies Co., Ltd.      Manufacturing and marketing of flexible displays

And outside of China:

  • Ambit International Ltd. British Virgin Islands
  • Foxconn (Far East) Ltd.  Cayman Islands
  • Foxconn Holding Ltd. British Virgin Islands
  • Foxconn SA B.V. Netherlands
  • Image & Vision Investment Corp. British Virgin Islands
  • Margini Holdings Limited British Virgin Islands
  • ?????(??)???? Hong Kong

No wonder it’s so hard to know just what the world’s largest EMS company is up to.

Foxconn’s ‘Dispiriting’ Suicide Response

Ten attempted suicides (eight successful) in 10 months has Hon Hai (Foxconn) reeling from yet another round of bad press.

Against all odds, the situation has worsened as bloggers have uncovered a video purported to show Foxconn security guards beating an employee. (Is this the Shenzhen citadel, or Abu Ghraib?)

Terry Gou, Hon Hai’s founder and chairman, today insisted to the Wall Street Journal that his company is “not a sweatshop,” and that several measures are being taken to get to the root of the deaths. Among the responses:

  • A suicide hot line.
  • Outside counseling.
  • A “Foxconn Employee Care Center.”
  • A prayer group led by Buddhist monks.

DigiTimes, the excellent Asia-based news source, reports Foxconn is even bringing in an exorcist to help deal with the demons plaguing its factory workers.

Nothing against those who free the world from diabolical spirits, but my advice is tad simpler: Treat your workers better.