Foxconn founder Terry Gou might be regarded as Henry Ford reincarnated if only a dozen of his workers hadn't killed themselves this year. An exclusive look inside a postmodern industrial empire
This was followed by a two-hour rally inside a vast sports stadium featuring acrobats, musical performances, fireworks, and life-affirming testimonials punctuated by chants of "treasure your life" and "care for each other to build a wonderful future."
Finally, Gou's company hired the New York firm Burson-Marsteller to help devise a formal public-relations strategy, its first in more than 35 years of existence.
Prominent on display are biographies of Gou, one of which collects his many aphorisms, including "work itself is a type of joy," "a harsh environment is a good thing," "hungry people have especially clear minds," and "an army of one thousand is easy to get, one general is tough to find."
Gou (pronounced "Gwo")
Since the end of May, Gou, who normally divides his time between Hon Hai headquarters in Taipei and China, has been living at Longhua in a room behind his office, dealing with the aftermath of the suicides. He says he works 16 hours a day and eats three meals at his desk. There is scarcely time for indulgences. "I was getting my hair dyed at 11 p.m. last night for this interview," he says, introducing himself with a firm handshake. He hasn't played a round of golf in months and stays fit by doing pushups in the morning and using the time to reflect on "the five-year plan. That's the most important."
The public nature of Foxconn's labor problems could end up benefiting the company, enabling it to pass on the costs of its new worker-friendly initiatives. The raises will cut earnings per share by about 5 percent this year and by 12 percent in 2011, according to Daiwa Securities in Taipei. Yet all it would take is a 1 percent increase in the price of most finished products—$4 more for a 64-gig iPod touch, for example—to offset the added labor costs. Given the awful spectacle of the suicide epidemic, who's going to complain?
“• Gou on Warren Buffett (‘He's too old’), the uselessness of business degrees (‘You can't read a book to learn to swim’), Steve Jobs (‘I forced him to give me his business card’) and New York bankers who ‘see the Hudson River and say, 'I'm a king of the world.'
• A sampling of Gou's collected aphorisms: ‘work itself is a type of joy,’ ‘a harsh environment is a good thing,’ ‘hungry people have especially clear minds,’ and ‘an army of one thousand is easy to get, one general is tough to find.’
• That Gou dropped his libel lawsuit against two China Business News reporters who exposed harsh working conditions at Foxconn's iPod factory at the behest of Apple and Hewlett-Packard, two of his most important clients.
• That it's the threat of getting sued that concerns him as he prepares to move some of his production facilities from China to the U.S.”
Here's a fun challenge: whenever you see a self-described conservative or libertarian on the internet talking about their "hard earned money," "working hard," or how "lazy" a given group is, check if they're posting from work and watch how vigorously they'll justify it.
There's very few ways to seriously make over 100k without screwing someone over somewhere, even if it's the mundane, everyday screw-overs like taking massive bonuses for a successful year, while the lower-downs see little reward for their hard work.
« Older Joaquin Phoenix is the man who ate himself... | "I HEREBY REQUEST that my body... Newer »
This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments
Buy a Shirt