Re­cruit­ing fo­cus on qual­ity not quan­tity

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT - MULTI­NA­TIONAL ELEC­TRON­ICS CON­TRAC­TOR

Fox­conn Tech­nol­ogy Group, head­quar­tered in Tucheng, New Taipei, has an­nounced it will in­vest $10 bil­lion over the next four years to build a liq­uid­crys­tal dis­play man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­ity in Wis­con­sin in the United States. China Youth Daily com­mented on Tues­day:

Fox­conn’s in­vest­ment will be the largest new green­field in­vest­ment made by a for­eign com­pany in the United States, cre­at­ing 3,000 new jobs and 10,000 more in the fu­ture, ac­cord­ing to re­ports. The move is partly seen as a re­sponse to US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s am­bi­tion to re­vi­tal­ize do­mes­tic man­u­fac­tur­ing.

Not long after he as­sumed of­fice, Trump threat­ened to im­pose puni­tive tax as high as 35 per­cent on US com­pa­nies man­u­fac­tur­ing over­seas and sell­ing their prod­ucts in the US.

Be­cause of its high la­bor costs and thriv­ing cap­i­tal mar­ket, in the­ory, the US should im­port la­bor-in­ten­sive prod­ucts and ex­port cap­i­tal-in­ten­sive ones. How­ever, in re­al­ity, it is the other way round, as the coun­try ex­ports la­bor-in­ten­sive prod­ucts thanks to its lead­ing po­si­tion in sci­en­tific research and tech­no­log­i­cal in­no­va­tion.

In­vest­ment in pro­fes­sional ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing has also helped US com­pa­nies im­prove ef­fi­ciency with­out em­ploy­ing a great num­ber of work­ers. And more cap­i­tal, in­tel­lec­tual and fi­nan­cial, has been poured into the man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor to fa­cil­i­tate au­toma­tion. These have led to a steady in­crease in la­bor costs and a wan­ing de­mand for man­ual la­bor.

Fox­conn’s new plant in Wis­con­sin, for ex­am­ple, will rely heav­ily on au­toma­tion. Only 3,000 work­ers are needed in ini­tial stages, which is not many con­sid­er­ing the size of in­vest­ment. The world’s largest elec­tron­ics con­trac­tor also as­pires to ad­vance in ar­eas such as nan­otech­nol­ogy and cloud com­put­ing.

Fox­conn should be an in­spi­ra­tion to main­land man­u­fac­tur­ers that re­cruit­ment is be­com­ing more about the qual­ity of work­ers in­stead of the quan­tity.

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