2010/08/19

Taiwan's Foxconn says it will hire 400,000 more in China

TAIPEI, August 19, 2010 (AFP) - Taiwan IT giant Foxconn plans to hire up to 400,000 new employees in China over the coming year, partly to keep up production despite cutting maximum overtime hours, officials said Thursday.

The company, a major supplier to brands such as Apple, Dell and Nokia, said the expansion plan, coming after a series of suicides this year, will boost its work force to 1.3 million.

"We're not sure if that can be done, but that's the direction we're aiming for," Foxconn spokesman Arthur Huang told AFP.

The planned increase will come about mostly in the central provinces of China as the company seeks to scale back the size of its biggest facility in southern Shenzhen city, he said.

Louis Woo, an assistant to Foxconn CEO Terry Gou, confirmed in a statement that the company intended to add 300,000-400,000 new employees over the next year.

"This estimated increment is, in part, a result of reducing maximum overtime hours allowed for employees in line with Chinese government regulations and the company's goal of giving employees increased time outside of the workplace," he said.

"It will be adding new employees to ensure that operations will be maintained at current production levels following the implementation of the reduced overtime programme."

A total of 13 Chinese employees have committed suicide this year at Foxconn plants and an affiliate by jumping from buildings, including 10 in Shenzhen.

Labour rights activists have blamed the suicides at Foxconn -- the world's largest maker of computer components -- on tough working conditions in its factories.

But company founder Gou has said none of the suicides was directly work-related and that he was cleared by Chinese authorities of any wrongdoing in the period leading up to the suicides.