Barry.victor, Perhaps the Chinese workers will get to share more than 2 percent and Apple might have to make do with slightly under 60 percent if it looked more closely at the working conditions and allowed Foxconn to operate the way we do in the West.
This isn't just about profit sharing, however. The Chinese government decided to embrace capitalism where the winner gets to keep a greater percentage of the profit but it's also an elastic system where the workers occasionally get to flex their muscles. If it wants to keep more of its fat profit margins, Apple may have to give more to the folks who make the products and ensure their working environment is safe.
William K, Thank you for sharing that experience in Dong Guang City. It illustrates the variety of experience that workers have in different factories worldwide. As you noted, a broad brush isn't what we should use to describe working conditions in China. You also rightly noted that conditions aren't what Western workers may be used to but that it's still preferred to the alternatives Chinese workers were used to.
Obviously, China isn't the U.S. but I hope many of those like yourself who have come to the defence of China aren't implying that the situation is fine and we shouldn't try to make it better.And, the goal certainly here isn't to dumb down China and have the jobs return to the West. It's not going to happen; the supply chain isn't that flexible and not even a battery of lawyers and labor unions will make it happen.
China is a part of global commerce now and that's the way it will remain.
I agree. My idea for option A was as illustration that the whole case is not so simple and needs deep understanding of many, many factors including how manufacuring has moved to China, since when and why.
Options B and C sound logical to me and actually helpful if they were possible. Then we should start talking about International Politics, International Economy, and have a good grasp of knowledge and undertstanding of the Chinese history and culture.
This is non sense. more than 60% of the profits were kept with Apple and only 2% left to Foxconn China and its Chinese workers. The Koreans take another 15%. Why bothered now by the 2% of revenue while the Amercicans take the most ? The 2% of revenue represent the least value-add in the supply chain. Are Amercians really argued and interetsed in the 2% ?
The much overdue public outrage against Apple is not so much about how Foxconn has been mistreating their Chinese workers but the realization that all that marketing aura that Steve Jobs was so good at putting out was financed by sweat-shop exploitation.
To Apple groupies it is a big letdown to realize that Apple too is just another US MNC that is just one law away from openly practicing slavery !
Stop trying to dump guilt on me, OK!!! I have done work in a factory in China, in Dong Guang City. The conditions are a long way from "awful". Of course, those folks in tha factory do actually have to do the work that they are paid to do, which is indeed a radical concept to many in other parts of the world. And for the safety concerns, there is very little regard given for being stupid. There are safety rules, which when translated into plain english seem to be common sense. Workers are expected to stay away from ares that would be guarded and interlocked in other countries, and the workers are able to follow those instructions and avoid being injured. Of course, the plants that I worked in were manufacturing plants, not small recycling businesses. I am sure that some of those are probably unsafe. And mostly the plants were not nearly as plush as most of our unionized plants in the USA. But these factories do indeed allow more people to make a far better living than anything else they could be doing. Factory work is making a better life for a whole lot of folks in China.
But the other thing that I saw was a city full of people who had come in from the countryside where they were earning almost enough to get by, to instead work in the factories where they wound up earning enough to support all kinds of stores selling a lot of things that were not "bare minimum nessessities". That was the big thing, which is that suddenly there are ways for a lot of people to have a lot more than they ever had before.
It has become clear that the way to stop China from surpassing us as a world power and industrial power would be to send them lots of lawyers and lots of labor unions. I am sure that thiss remark will be challenged, but think about it.
Kevin, Thank you for bringing some perspective and balance to the discussion. Yes, you are right. My own handwringing (true) did make it seem like a case of the glass is half-empty but in reality the presence of western manufacturers in China is forcing change on the society incrementally.
This is worth celebrating. The Chinese worker isn't waiting to be "rescued" by Westerners. They are organizing and demanding better working conditions. And they are benefitting from having stable jobs that pay better than they can get from working the farm.
We can always do better on the labor front but as you noted, we should celebrate the progressive improvements as much as we ask for even better conditions. I should have stated that in my blog but hey, you just gave me a good subject for my next blog.
EBN Dialogue enables and encourages you to participate in live chats with notable leaders and luminaries. Not only editors and journalists, but the entire EBN community is able to comment and ask questions. Listed below are upcoming and archived chats.
Thailand Stages a Comeback Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Microsoft Surface: Potential Winners & Losers What are the implications for the electronics industry supply chain of Microsoft Corp.'s decision to launch its own tablet PC? Join industry veteran and EE Times' systems and OEM expert Rick Merritt on Tuesday, July 3, at 12:00 pm EDT for a Live Chat on this subject.
Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Peter Drucker famously said "Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window." Yet in the razor's-edge world of electronics—with a lean supply chain and just-in-time demands—the need to know the future is vital.
While no one really can accurately predict the future, we can take guidance from another Drucker saying which is the best way to predict the future is to create it.
You've heard the saying "the No. 1 supply chain risk is your people." That hasn't always been the case. But today's complex global supply chain requires a new type of multitalented employee. It's one who understands, finance, marketing, economics, is savvy with technology, graceful with relationships and can think analytically.
Where are these people? Are universities properly preparing the next generation supply chain professionals? How do train your existing workforce for these new, demanding positions?
Brian Fuller, editor-in-chief of EBN, will lead a 60-minute Avnet Velocity panel discussion that will ask and answer these and other questions swirling around today's supply-chain talent challenges.