Third Death at Foxconn in 3 Months; Should Apple, Sony, Nokia and Others Be Concerned?

The following is my latest post on Digital East Asia.

China Net Television and other Chinese media recently reported (link to video in Chinese) that there has been another death at Foxconn(PINK: FXCNY) on March 30. This is the third death at Foxconn in as many months, and the third case of employees “falling from buildings” in 20 days.

Foxconn, which manufactures products for pretty much all major tech companies – Apple Inc.(NASDAQ: AAPL), Sony Corporation ((ADR) NYSE: SNE), Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE: HPQ), Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), Nokia Corporation ((ADR) NYSE: NOK), Motorola, Inc. (NYSE: MOT), Nintendo Co., Ltd ((ADR) OTC: NTDOY), Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT), Dell Inc. (NASDAQ: DELL) and Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) (as summarized by Techcrunch) – is notorious for its secrecy and probably excessive labor practices (the Techcrunch article above covers the story of how Foxconn security attacked a Reuters journalist). Three suicide attempts in 20 days is a sign that there are serious issues at this company. The above mentioned high profile clients should take action to thoroughly investigate the labor conditions at Foxconn.

A recap of the recent incidents at Foxconn (summarized by this Chinese article):

  • 4am, Jan 23: employee Ma Xiangqian, a 19 year-old male, dies while working a night-shift in Foxconn’s Shenzhen Guanlan plant. Reason of death is still undetermined.
  • 9:30pm, Mar 11: a male employee dies from falling from the fifth floor of the dormitory at Foxconn’s Shenzhen Longhua manufacturing site.
  • 8am, Mar 17: a female employee jumps from the dormitory at the Longhua site, suffering injuries; she cites stress as the main reason for the suicide attempt.
  • Midnight, Mar 29: male employee, surname Liu, dies from jumping from the 14th floor of the dormitory. Liu, who was 23 at death, graduated from Xiangtan University in 2009 and joined Foxconn in August 2009.
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