iPhone assembler Foxconn’s billionaire CEO Terry Gou chafes at China’s ‘unreasonable’ overtime caps

“The billionaire chief of Foxconn Technology Group, Apple Inc.’s main iPhone assembler, argues that China’s ‘unreasonable’ restrictions on overtime hours hurts his workers and the company’s competitiveness,” Debby Wu reports for Bloomberg. “Taking aim at criticism Foxconn over-works its employees to meet soaring demand before the annual holiday shopping season, Terry Gou told shareholders his workers actually want to work more hours and that forcing them to put in less time reduces their income.”

“Foxconn, which as China’s largest private employer keeps about a million on its payroll, has drawn fire for years over practices such as allowing overtime to soar during the peak season, when it sharply ramps up production to get devices to market in time for the holidays. Gou however said that was normal practice in other parts of the world, and stressed that Foxconn’s biggest challenge now was not labor but U.S.-Chinese tensions that threaten to up-end the global supply chain,” Wu reports. “China’s rising economic and technological prowess is at the heart of a dispute with the U.S. that, while waged through retaliatory trade tariffs, is also aimed at prying open the Asian nation to U.S. businesses and restricting the use of government aid to advance strategically important industries. ”

“Gou argued that Foxconn should be governed by U.S. regulations since, as the world’s largest electronics contract manufacturer, a large swath of its customers from Apple Inc. to Amazon.com Inc. are American,” Wu reports. “The CEO also repeated a pledge to employ robots to replace 80 percent of workers in coming years, as one potential solution.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Yes, many employees desire to work more hours to make more money, but we all know why the restrictions are there: To prevent worker abuse. It is nice to know that Terry’s robot dreams haven’t died, though. It’s just taking longer to become real than Terry ever dreamed. If they ever come online in serious numbers with real capabilities, that could be the answer – for the company’s competitiveness, at least.

Woz calls Steve Jobs ‘Trumpish,’ says we shouldn’t worry about robots taking over – October 11, 2017
Foxconn robots better, but still not precise enough to assemble Apple iPhones – December 5, 2014
Foxconn CEO disappointed with current-gen iPhone-assembling robots; next-gen ‘Foxbots’ in the works – September 22, 2014
Foxconn to deploy ‘Foxbot’ robots for iPhone assembly – July 7, 2014
Why Foxconn’s iPhone robots could create American jobs – February 2, 2014
Apple dives deeper into designing and inventing robots, other manufacturing tech – November 22, 2013
Whatever happened to Foxconn’s one million iPhone-assembling robots? – May 15, 2013
Robots made Apple switch to ‘Made in the U.S.A.’ Macs – December 11, 2012
Foxconn’s 2012 plan: More robots, no layoffs, zero suicides, new factories – November 22, 2011
Foxconn to replace some workers with 1 million robots within 3 years – July 31, 2011


  1. Without knowing what the actual caps are, there is no way for us to reasonably comment.

    If the cap is 20 hours of overtime a week (or 87 hours a month) then I’d complain too as a person can realistically sustain more than 60 hours a week for extended periods without detriment to that person. Conversely, if the cap is 50 hours of overtime a week (or 217 hours a month) then Gou should sit down and hut up as no one can be reasonably expected to do over 90 hours a week and not have it negatively affect them.

    But, again, without knowing the limits, everything is just a guess.

  2. … back in the ’70s I had a low paying job that made you work up to twelve hours a day for twenty one straight days before you could get a day off. I dumped that friggin’ thing as soon as I could. I don’t know if they could still pull that off today in the U.S.

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