There have been a lot of theories floated for why Foxconn froze new hires earlier this month. Early rumors suggested that iPhone 5 production had slowed, while later reports said that Apple’s new measures to improve working conditions had caused fewer workers than usual to abandon their posts over Chinese New Year.
Now there’s a new theory: Foxconn’s getting out of China, at least in part.
Quoth the always eyebrow-arching Digitimes
Seeing that Foxconn Electronics (Hon Hai Precision Industry) has no plans to recruit standard workers in China, rumors have started circulating in the IT market that Foxconn is considering moving its investment focus from China to countries such as Brazil, Indonesia, Taiwan and the US…
Although China’s rising labor costs and strict policies for environmental protection will gradually impact Foxconn’s profitability, compared to the US, Brazil and Indonesia, China currently still has advantages in terms of cost and infrastructure, the sources said.
If even Digitimes is calling this a rumor, you know it should be treated with extreme skepticism, especially when they claim that Foxconn would consider moving to other countries because of China’s “strict policies for environmental protection”…. presumably not the same strict policies that China uses to oversee, say, the rare earth industry, which some journalists have described as “an apocalyptic sight.”
Still, Foxconn has been making in-roads in other countries, particularly Brazil, where it has a factory that builds iPhones and iPads. That Foxconn might hire less new workers in China and more workers oversees to spread out its operations isn’t an idea entirely without merit.