The Man Who Makes Your iPhone

Fascinating article on Terry Gou (which is an incorrect romanization for his family surname, 郭, the pinyin should be Guo, not Gou), the founder of Foxconn.

The article spends a good deal of time talking about the recent suicides at Foxconn, which were tragic and not to be dismissed. I did not blog about the suicides at the time, but it occurred to me when I read this article that at roughly 900,000 employees, Foxconn has a larger “population” than the following US states:

  • Alaska (149 / 681,111)
  • South Dakota (102 / 795,689)
  • Wyoming (101 / 523,252)
  • Delaware (95 / 861,953)
  • North Dakota (95 / 637,904)
  • Vermont (89 / 620,748)

You’ve probably figured out that the first number is the number of suicides, the second the state’s population (2007 data from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention). Frankly, we should be surprised there were not more than 12 suicides, just given the sheer density of the living and working conditions. Or maybe that helped prevent them? Lack of privacy denies you the opportunity or provides something of a support structure whether you like it or not?

Anyway, money ‘graph:

Gou has plans to capitalize on the changes he has wrought. Perhaps most intriguing is his plan to move additional production to the U.S. The company currently employs about 1,000 workers in a Houston plant that makes specialized high-end servers for corporate clients the company declined to disclose, and Gou envisions a fully automated plant to produce components within five years. “If I can automate in the U.S.A. and ship to China, cost-wise it can still be competitive,” he says. “But I worry America has too many lawyers. I don’t want to spend time having people sue me every day.”

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – bean counters, lawyers and @$$hat corporate buyers took all the fun out of US manufacturing and along with unions have done their damnedest to destroy what was left.

Anyway, enjoy the article about the “new Henry Ford”, and say a prayer for the departed.

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