Well, after the fallout from my first article about Foxconn, I had hoped to let this story rest. Hon Hai (parent company of Foxconn) Charmain Terry Gou just isn’t going to allow that to happen. Mr. Gou, speaking at an employee event at the Tapei Zoo had this say when referring to his employees:
“Hon Hai has a workforce of over one million and as human beings are also animals, to manage one million animals gives me a headache,”
Yeah. I thought that I didn’t care about Foxconn workers.
OK, I’ll agree that maybe the comment was misinterpreted a bit, but I’m not sure how you explain away the fact that Mr. Gou followed that pearl up with this: he wants to learn management techniques from Chin Shin-Chien, director of the Tapei Zoo.
Mr. Gou invited Chin Shin-Chien to speak to Hon Hai’s general managers, and they apparently listened very intently as Chin gave advice on how to deal with different types of animals.
It’s not enough that Foxconn workers have been mutilated on the job, and that some have even died. Nor is it sufficient that fourteen employees committed suicide, and that less than two weeks ago the company settled a dispute under threat of mass suicide. Nope, that’s not going to get it done. Foxconn is going to treat their employees like the animals that they are, and their top managers are going to take advice from a zoo director about how best to deal with them.
Like I said earlier, it’s entirely possible that Mr Gou’s comments were misinterpreted, and that asking the director of the Tapei Zoo to speak to Hon Hai’s management was all a great big lost in translation misunderstanding. Then again, there was this followup statement from the company:
Statement From Foxconn Technology Group
There have been some media reports regarding a conversation that Foxconn Technology Group Chief Executive Officer, Terry Gou, had with the Director of the Taipei Zoo, Chin Shih-chien, at an employee event organized by Foxconn on January 15 in Taipei to benefit a range of charitable organizations through a contribution of USD1.4 million. In an effort to encourage his management team to learn from all aspects of life, Mr. Gou did say that, since all humans are members of the animal kingdom, it might be possible to learn from Mr. Chin’s experience as his team looks for lessons that can be applied to business. Mr. Gou’s comments were directed at all humans and not at any specific group.
While some reports on Mr. Gou’s comments in Mandarin were taken out of context and do not accurately reflect the full scope of that conversation, Mr. Gou does understand how these reports could be misinterpreted and seen as insensitive and he sincerely apologizes to anyone who might be offended by them. At no time did Mr. Gou seek to portray Foxconn employees in the negative context some media reports have suggested.
So there, straight from the horse’s ass, we’re all animals. If you didn’t catch it when you read the entire statement, allow me to point this out:
Mr. Gou’s comments were directed at all humans and not at any specific group.
We’re all animals. At least according to Terry Gou.
Now, for those that claimed that I made highly disturbing comments about Foxconn employees and then ran and hid, here’s how you can express your displeasure to me. You can email your comments, you can send me a message on Twitter @arrowrand, or you can leave a comment here. I replied to as many as I could, and I’ll reply to more.
If, instead, you’d like to express your displeasure directly to Foxconn, I have some contact info for them as well. You can send Mr Gou a letter at this address:
Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd.
2 Zihyou Street, Tucheng City
Taipei County, 236
If you have Google Voice, you can call Hon Hai in Taiwan for .02 a minute at +886-2-2268-3466. Lastly, you can email them your comments and concerns.