Apple supplier Foxconn freezes hiring at largest plant

Thu Feb 21, 2013 3:41am EST
 

By Clare Jim and Jennifer Saba

TAIPEI/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Apple Inc's manufacturing partner Foxconn Technology Group has frozen hiring at a Shenzhen plant that makes gadgets including the iPhone 5 and put the brakes on recruiting for other factories across China, but said the move was not linked to any single client.

Foxconn runs a network of factories across the world's No. 2 economy that make products for tech companies from Hewlett Packard to Dell. It sought to pour cold water on a Financial Times report that it had imposed a hiring freeze while it slows production of Apple's latest smartphone.

"Due to an unprecedented rate of return of employees following the Chinese New Year holiday compared to years past, our company has decided to temporarily slow down our recruitment process," the company said in a statement.

"This action is not related to any single customer and any speculation to the contrary is false and inaccurate."

Like other Chinese contract manufacturers, Foxconn, the trading name of Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd, relies on a large number of migrant laborers from across the country who journey home for the most important holiday of the year. Many do not make it back to work, but Foxconn spokesman Louis Woo said this year they saw as many as 97 percent of employees return.

A Foxconn recruitment centre in an industrial suburb of Shenzhen, where job-seekers register their names and mobile numbers, was closed on Thursday.

"I've waited here four days now and I've spent a lot," said Yang Jun, a hopeful migrant from Shanxi province, in northern China. "I'm not sure how long I can hold out. If they don't contact me soon I'll have to leave."

Apple sold a less-than-expected 47.8 million iPhones in the 2012 holiday quarter, fanning fears that its dominance of consumer electronics is on the decline as Samsung Electronics Co and other manufacturers that use Google Inc's Android software gradually gain market share.   Continued...

 
Workers walk out at the gate of a Foxconn factory in the township of Longhua in Shenzhen, Guangdong province December 18, 2012. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu