Foxconn do make stuff for others don't they?
The Fair Labor Association's (FLA's) latest report on workers at Chinese manufacturer Foxconn, Apple's preferred source for many iThings, has found many staff are still working longer hours than is allowed under Chinese law. The report (PDF) is based on audits of Foxconn plants in Guanlan, Longhua and Chengdu. The report was …
Friday 17th May 2013 06:16 GMT Anonymous Coward
Chinese software engineers. I had a few working for me on my last project. They would never go home even when you didn't need them to put in such long hours. I remember one evening at the integration lab being surprised because they had left the office at 7:30 which was far earlier than their usual habit. It turns out they had found out where the nearest Chinese restaurant was (yes really, and there i was thinking the Chinese didn't like their own feed as served-up in the West). But then by 9:15 they were all filing back into the lab to get a bit more work done before turning in.
I hardly dare tell you the average bug fix rates they sustained as compared with Western engineers. It was embarrassing and couldn't to any degree be accounted for by hours alone.
Let me just say "multiples."
They weren't asked or expected to do these hours. They seemed lost if asked not to.
Putting all politics aside. On the practical level alone, how the hell do we think we can compete when such a level that commitment to getting the job done is, in a manner of speaking, in their DNA?
Friday 17th May 2013 06:19 GMT cyke1
Friday 17th May 2013 06:37 GMT Anonymous Coward
No, these were not sweatshop workers, but workers with degrees, working for a a Western company with offices in Beijing. For sure they were paid a lot less than their Western counterparts. Even as AC I won't say the amount. The ratio of cost was about 1/3 their Western equivalent, but note that does not give an indication if relative rates of pay because all business costs are so much lower over there. By Chinese standards they were paid very well and would have been considered successful young men by their peers. Put it this way, they could afford iPhones if they wanted them. So again, multiples of our own engineers productivity,1/3 the cost (the cost ratio is slowly but surely changing BTW and is by now probably edging towards 1/2). We can pretend this isn't happening, but how are we going to compete (other than wait for them to get rich and lazy like us by which time we will probably be poor and lazy) ?
Friday 17th May 2013 07:13 GMT Anonymous Coward
Cloud cuckoo land
I take it the fact the number of comments posted on this forum has almost stopped is indication that for at least some of the readers - though we have all known the Chinese have superior productivity for some time - have no reply to stark reality. No matter what political stance we adhere to, no matter how we try to spin it: we, and especially out politicians, are living in cloud cuckoo land.
Friday 17th May 2013 12:29 GMT Jediben
Re: Cloud cuckoo land
I think it's more likely that a vast readership of the Register don't have any first hand experience of the living conditions, working conditions, work ethics, socio-economic environment or cultural backdrop of mainland China, so passing judgement about such things might be deemed unsavoury?
We hear about the huge factories, kilometres in size, and it sounds ghastly.
How can you criticise someone who is forced to endure that environment out of necessity?
Friday 17th May 2013 07:36 GMT Steve Davies 3
Friday 17th May 2013 14:08 GMT Anonymous Coward
"An insight into the nature of Chinese Communism can also be found in the report's “notable increases in the participation of workers in union committees and a corresponding decline in management participation in such committees”. And there we were thinking that a Communist country would have lots of workers on union committees! Silly us."
And there I was thinking a) that communism is largely miss-implemented, and abused (see Orwell and Animal Farm), that the socialist aspect of communism is largely not implemented (China is now a capitalist country anyway), with gains taken by those who hold the means of production, and not by the workforce, worker rights have virtually nothing to do with classic communism.
Friday 17th May 2013 15:21 GMT Skymonrie
Left for dust
I remember well the experience I had when i had just left university that could sit on parallel lines but in England for this.
I serviced hardware/software chip and pin machines and would always try to find ways to make it both more pleasant and efficient. Here is a list of some of those and the effect
- The software we used was hosted on an intranet and only updated every other week. I would download the relevant tools if changed and put them on my desktop for one click use. This saved my having to go through the company intranet pages which were 2 deep and slow so. Much faster and convenient, I could lay them out in order as needed. Management response (some young man who clearly enjoyed his position too much) made me stop doing this as it meant my toolchain would always be outdated....
- The units that came in would just be thrown in to a box with the only thing differentiating them a label; each station would take a different type of "fix" at different times to keep it a little different. One morning, whilst getting my devices, any devices that didn't meet my current task, would put them in a separate making someone elses life easier, it certainly didn't make mine any different. The manager came over and was furious, accusing me of wasting my time tidying up the devices; at this point I still only had half of the devices I needed.
Not meaning to blow my own horn, I was the most productive worker in that workshop by at least three times, most of the others were very lazy polish who couldn't speak much English. I was late the next day after the above instance (5AM start!) and I was welcomed by the manager smiling telling me to go home. It was his victory...
I believe the problem is rather simple. It isn't just that China is (for now cheaper) it's that Britain has lost a lot of the fire to its flame.
Friday 17th May 2013 16:48 GMT Anonymous Coward
Foxconn Apple's preferred source?
"The Fair Labor Association's (FLA's) latest report on workers at Chinese manufacturer Foxconn, Apple's preferred source for many iThings"
As well as many others including Microsoft and Intel ..