Foxconn’s ‘Dispiriting’ Suicide Response

Ten attempted suicides (eight successful) in 10 months has Hon Hai (Foxconn) reeling from yet another round of bad press.

Against all odds, the situation has worsened as bloggers have uncovered a video purported to show Foxconn security guards beating an employee. (Is this the Shenzhen citadel, or Abu Ghraib?)

Terry Gou, Hon Hai’s founder and chairman, today insisted to the Wall Street Journal that his company is “not a sweatshop,” and that several measures are being taken to get to the root of the deaths. Among the responses:

  • A suicide hot line.
  • Outside counseling.
  • A “Foxconn Employee Care Center.”
  • A prayer group led by Buddhist monks.

DigiTimes, the excellent Asia-based news source, reports Foxconn is even bringing in an exorcist to help deal with the demons plaguing its factory workers.

Nothing against those who free the world from diabolical spirits, but my advice is tad simpler: Treat your workers better.

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About Mike

Mike Buetow is president of the Printed Circuit Engineering Association ( He previously was editor-in-chief of Circuits Assembly magazine, the leading publication for electronics manufacturing, and PCD&F, the leading publication for printed circuit design and fabrication. He spent 21 years as vice president and editorial director of UP Media Group, for which he oversaw all editorial and production aspects. He has more than 30 years' experience in the electronics industry, including six years at IPC, an electronics trade association, at which he was a technical projects manager and communications director. He has also held editorial positions at SMT Magazine, community newspapers and in book publishing. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois. Follow Mike on Twitter: @mikebuetow

One thought on “Foxconn’s ‘Dispiriting’ Suicide Response

  1. Even though all suicides are tragic, the actual suicide rate for Foxconn employees is less than the rate for all 50 states in the U.S.. Keep in mind the company has over 300k employees. Businessinsider wrote a good blog entry on this yesterday.

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