Embattled Foxconn eyes US factory opening

As much as the US needs manufacturing jobs – Detroit especially – the current Foxconn model of dormitory living, tea and cookies, and round-the-clock availability is probably not what we need. You’ll recall that Foxconn is the company recently in the news for being an Apple sub-contractor.

Work with dignity doesn’t appear to be part of the Foxconn plan.

The Guardian:

Factory via Shutterstock

Foxconn, the controversial Taiwanese manufacturer that has become one of the world’s largest employers thanks to booming demand for the Apple products it assembles, is reportedly planning to open factories in the United States.With an 800,000 strong workforce largely based in mainland China, Foxconn is one of the businesses that has profited from the decline of western manufacturing. Now the firm is apparently planning to reverse the labour drain by opening American factories.

As labour costs surge in its home market Foxconn has been looking overseas for opportunities, and sources have told Taiwanese trade publication DigiTimes that the company is evaluating cities including Detroit and Los Angeles.


An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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  • caphillprof

    I didn’t realize you were Mitt Romney who thinks all parents can subsidize their adult children.
    Subject: [americablog] Re: Embattled Foxconn eyes US factory opening

  • Naja pallida

    Except when I go into a Wal-Mart or Home Depot around here, I don’t see high school kids working. I see military wives. I see senior citizens. And I see middle-aged people working a second job, because their first doesn’t pay enough to make ends meet. Now if I go by Taco Bell and McDonald’s, then I might see a high school kid… but for the most part, even those jobs here have been taken by older people just trying to put food on the table.

  • RepubAnon

    If the entry-level workers are high-school kids living with their parents, the answer is different than for someone that needs to earn enough to pay their rent.

  • RepubAnon

    The obvious solution, of course, is universal health care – where the government supplies a basic level of health services (including basic dentistry like fillings, cleanings, etc.). This sets a floor in the “race for the bottom”, and makes it easier for all concerned. Yes, even employers – lower HR management costs, fewer sick days, efficiencies from a healthier work force… the main reason businesses don’t do this on their own is that it puts them at a short-term disadvantage with their competitors. (Look up “Prisoner’s Dilemma” – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prisoner%27s_dilemma).

  • UncleBucky

    Foxconn is a Taiwanese firm. Let’s look a little deeper into that.

    Terry Gou is its CEO
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terry_Gou

    “Hon Hai has a workforce of over one million worldwide and as human
    beings are also animals, to manage one million animals gives me a
    headache.”

    OMG, he’s Romney, Gingrich, and Trump all rolled into one…!

    And that’s possibly the inspiration of the live-in factory with the human assets kept under lock and key…

  • Asterix

    Would “suicide nets” be a wise investment should this come about?

  • catdance

    My first thought was that your comment was harsh, but on thought I think it’s just a little off-base. There may be truth in the statement that not every job should pay a “living wage” – but its a truth that isn’t as applicable today as it was 30 years ago. Back then – at least here where I’m from — America had full-time entry level jobs that DID pay a living wage – in factories, offices, and retail businesses. Workers with high school educations could begin careers with those entry-level jobs, rising up through the ranks, and support their families. Part-time minimum wage jobs were largely filled by students who worked after school for spending money. Back then, businesses were owned somewhat locally, business owners had names and faces, and both owners and workers had a stake in the success of the business, because it was intrinsic to their lives and livelihoods. Then greed took precedence, companies were bought up by faceless corporations and run by “investors” who have absolutely no ties to any community other than their own bank accounts. Jobs in which workers could rise through the ranks were automated or moved offshore in the interests of investor’s bottom lines. The newly unemployed, along with new entry level works were forced to take the part-time, minimum wage jobs that remained. It’s a business model that needs to change if things are ever going to improve.

  • caphillprof

    I love your notion that entry level workers should earn less than they need to live. Did you borrow money from your daddy?

  • MyrddinWilt

    There may not be very many jobs involved here.

    Wages for workers are lower in China. Wages for robots are the same everywhere. Robot minders are easier to find in the US than China as the existing manufacturing base has already exhausted the supply there.

    Modern electronics production lines are 100% automated for production of the motherboards. Automating the assembly process has been less attractive because the length of the runs is generally not long enough to justify the effort required. There is also the problem that one broken machine means the whole line is down. The big advantage is being able to go to 24 hour operation at essentially no cost. When Apple can count on selling 10 million devices in the first month and the assembly is about 1% of the final product cost, well their economics are not usual.

    The only reason to put a plant in the LA area would be to be close to Apple so I would guess this is Apple driving the program. This might well be for assembling their planned TV line. There might be some customs tariff issue driving that.

  • dmoreno

    Lived in China for 5 years and have been saying this for a long time. They will be coming to our country to offer up bowls of rice for the hungry in no time. The next time we all walk the isles of Walmart and Target and oogle the plastic goodies for sale, think about the real worth of that landfill item and the toll it has taken and will take on two countries.

  • Naja pallida

    Yeah, but there are still plenty of ways they can abuse their employees. Have a read about Amazon’s (and other companies) warehouse wage slaves. I’m sure they won’t have any problem at all getting away with what ordinary people would consider to be disgusting employer ethics. As long as this remains an employers market, they will have no end of desperate people who will work for them.

  • guest1

    Not every job should pay a living wage, it would remove entry level workers form the workforce

  • emjayay

    US employers like Home Depot and WalMart are virulently anti union while saying they have nothing against unions. They propagandise their employees about how venal unions are, while paying less than a living wage and keeping most employees part time. We need national law beyond minimum (too low) wage laws to protect workers if modern corporate management has made unionization impossible, which it has. To begin with, employers should not be able to force employees to be part time when the employer has no need for that many part time workers except to deny them benefits. Employers should not be able to schedule employees at random arbitrary hours for no reason except to keep the employees insecure about their jobs. And employees should be paid a minimum wage that is an actual living wage in that area. Home Depot pays sales floor sales people $9.50 an hour in the New York City area, and cashiers less. And hires 70% of the workers as part time. it’s absurd. What we need here is a little bit more of that European socialism
    I’m sure that with the worker situation in the US currently that Foxconn can operate here with just a few adjustments.

  • Jim Olson

    Foxconn would have to operate under US laws, including wage laws and health and safety. And you can bet that there will be lots of supervision of this sort of thing. And if they do, but still don’t treat their workers ok, their heads will swim at how fast their factory will unionize.

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