Gou calls for drive into emerg­ing mar­kets

Protesters call an for end to ‘sweat­shop’ la­bor con­di­tions


Terry Gou ( ), chair­man of Hon Hai Pre­ci­sion In­dus­try Co. (also known as Fox­conn) said dur­ing a share­hold­ers meet­ing yesterday that the com­pany’s for­tunes and “op­por­tu­ni­ties” lay in con­tin­u­ing to di­rect cap­i­tal flows into emerg­ing mar­kets in­clud­ing China, In­dia, and South­east Asia. The Tai­wanese com­pany is the world’s largest man­u­fac­turer of con­sumer elec­tron­ics and em­ploys over one mil­lion em­ploy­ees glob­ally.

Claim­ing to have ob­tained and read a “clas­si­fied re­port” that in­di­cated the gross do­mes­tic prod­uct (GDP) of ad­vanced economies such as the U.S., the EU and Ja­pan would only be 28 per­cent of the world to­tal by 2050, Gou said that a re­gional shift was un­der­way in which emerg­ing economies would be­come ever more cru­cial as their ap­petite for con­sumer elec­tron­ics would con­tinue to grow un­abated.

Cit­ing the ex­am­ple of his own chil­dren, who he said are us­ing mo­bile ap­pli­ca­tions such as Line for com­mu­ni­ca­tion, send­ing im­ages and mes­sages, Gou out­lined the im­por­tance of wearable de­vices, cell­phones and tablets and their grow­ing us­age by younger age groups. Gou out­lined an ag­gres­sive plan to tar­get emerg­ing economies by in­creas­ing cap­i­tal flow into these coun­tries by 20 to 30 per­cent to aid in for­ti­fy­ing the cre­ation of new routes into these economies.

Ac­cord­ing to Gou’s re­port, the world’s share of GDP held by ad­vanced economies is cur­rently 48 per­cent, down from a com­mand­ing 73 per­cent in 1990. Gou called the re­gional shift a great op­por­tu­nity for Hon Hai as the trend to­ward grow­ing the emerg­ing economies will con­tinue in the next 35 years.

La­bor Groups Protest ‘sweat­shop’ Con­di­tions

Mean­while, lo­cal la­bor groups and two from Hong Kong gath­ered out­side the site of the share­holder meet­ing yesterday, hold­ing plac­ards and giv­ing speeches con­demn­ing Hon Hai’s leader for fail­ing to pro­tect the rights of the com­pany’s em­ploy­ees. The ac­tions in­fu­ri­ated Gou, who called the pro­tes­tors “ir­ra­tional and un­rea­son­able lack­eys.” The chair- man an­grily ac­cused the groups from Hong Kong of be­ing the tools of “haughty, white English.”

Hun­dreds of Hon Hai em­ploy­ees came out in sup­port of the com­pany, shout­ing slo­gans in­clud­ing: “Fake jus­tice, get lost, I love Hon Hai.”

La­bor groups and non-gov­ern­men­tal or­ga­ni­za­tions, in­clud­ing Stu­dents & Scholars Against Cor­po­rate Mis­be­haviour (SACOM,

) and Labour

Ac­tion China (LAC, ) ac­cused the com­pany of turn­ing a blind eye to the ben­zene poi­son­ing of its em­ploy­ees. Ex­po­sure to the chem­i­cal com­pound is known to cause can­cer and bone mar­row fail­ure.

The groups also spoke about the plight of the com­pany’s mas­sive low-cost la­bor force in China, many of whom they claim work overtime in chem­i­cally con­tam­i­nated en­vi­ron­ments. Gou coun­tered the claims, say­ing that the com­pany has formed med­i­cal units to ad­dress chem­i­cally in­duced health prob­lems among its work­force, in­clud­ing a pay­out of 1 mil­lion yuan.


(Above) Terry Gou, the chair­man of Hon Hai, speaks at a share­holder’s meet­ing in which he ac­cused la­bor or­ga­ni­za­tions protest­ing out­side the venue of try­ing to bag 1 mil­lion yuan us­ing the false pre­tense of ob­tain­ing worker’s com­pen­sa­tion for chem­i­cal con­tam­i­na­tion. He ac­cused the groups of be­ing the tools of or­ga­ni­za­tions from the United King­dom. (Right) La­bor ac­tivists protest out­side of a Hon Hai share­holder’s meet­ing in Taipei, yesterday. The civic groups in­clud­ing non-gov­ern­men­tal or­ga­ni­za­tions, la­bor or­ga­ni­za­tions from Tai­wan and Hong Kong have been protest­ing for three days, call­ing to an end to the com­pany’s “sweat­shop” la­bor prac­tices. Their mes­sage was flatly re­jected by Hon Hai Chair­man Terry Gou, who de­scribed them as “trash” and “lack­eys.”

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