Foxconn Chairman Calls Employees “Animals”

| News

Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou

The chairman of Apple supplier Foxconn has fanned the flames of an already growing concern about the working conditions and treatment of overseas employees who build the Cupertino-designed gadgets the market loves.

As reported by WantChinaTimes, Terry Gou, the head of Hong Hai Precision (Foxconn’s parent business group), stated during a recent year-end party: “Hon Hai has a workforce of over one million worldwide and as human beings are also animals, to manage one million animals gives me a headache.”

Indicating that his comment was not merely made in passing or jest, Mr. Gou added that he hoped to learn from Chin Shih-chien, the director of the Taipei Zoo, and asked Mr. Chin to speak with the company’s general managers about his experience managing zoo animals.

Mr. Gou’s comments come on the heels of renewed concern by U.S. media of the treatment of foreign workers employed in the production of western electronics. A recent exposé by radio program This American Life suggested that Apple’s suppliers were not consistent in following guidelines regarding worker treatment and conditions, with substandard employee wages and brutally long shifts. Those who complain are fired and blacklisted. Those who are injured: fired.

For its part, Apple, under CEO Tim Cook’s leadership, has recently begun to publicly take an active role in addressing worker concerns at its suppliers. Earlier this month, the company released a Supplier Responsibility Report and Mr. Cook sent an email to all company employees, outlining the process Apple goes through to verify its suppliers’ conduct. In addition, Apple for the first time joined the Fair Labor Association, a non-profit labor rights organization. 

Critics of Apple and its supplier relationships claim that Apple still hasn’t released enough information so that the public and watchdog groups can verify their progress, and comments by Mr. Gou only intensify their concern. However, now that these issues are in the public eye, Apple and its competitors who also contract with the same suppliers will hopefully be pressured into further action to ensure that the gadgets we love don’t come with a high moral price.

Popular TMO Stories



I wonder if his comment was meant to mean the old “herding cats” phrase but got lost in translation.

Now, if the other conditions are true.. Well, find another company to build our gadgets..


I wonder if his comment was meant to mean the old ?herding cats? phrase but got lost in translation.

I was wondering the same thing about cultural language translation until the creep dug himself a deeper pit with the zoo analogy.

Like Leona Helmsley, this guy is in no sense one of the ?little people?.


I just can’t wait for the “animals” to devour this monstrous mandarine in the coming chinese revolution. We should be very wary about the system the imperial chinese have erected we vert soon will be treated in the same manor. I you fear this looks like your or your children’s life unite, organize, and kick the charlatans that encourage and promote this dystopian future for us and present for the chinese.


I looked up the reports in Chinese and read his actual quotes. And here it is for those who can read Chinese here it is: ??????????????????????????????.

In direct translation he did indeed refer to employees as ??, which means animals. But when read in Chinese, I don’t think the same negative connotation as calling someone an animal in English. Maybe a better translation in this context would be “living beings.”

A better translation for his quote would be something like:

Hon Hai Precision employees an army of millions, people are living beings, and managing millions of living beings is a huge headache.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Among the dogs here is a very striking deaf, white Boxer male, who will be 6 in a couple of months. Monk is a ball of energy, and has been very quick to pick up behaviors that get him attention. For example, when the food bowl is empty, he will paw at the food bowl enclosure (a “Neater Feeder”), then paw a little more aggressively, then look at everyone, then more aggressively until either the food bowl gets refilled to his satisfaction, or the whole things gets spilled over and water is all over the kitchen floor.

Monk is probably the best dog I’ve ever walked, when he wants to be. But occasionally, he will get bored walking, and 2 miles from nowhere will just stop and lay down and be 80 pounds of dead weight until he decides he’s not bored anymore.

He likes to “dominate” by slowly walking over to a dog or person, and then just sitting straddled on them, usually facing away. It’s not a dominant stance in any sense except z-position, nor a dominant approach to reach that position, but there is some biological imperative in his brain taking over to do that.

Bottom line: I have learned a great deal about human behavior from Monk. There are patterns in people I can see and relate to his quirky automatic responses. I have been able to train around some of Monk’s weird behaviors, and I have learned to train around some people’s weird behaviors, mostly by actively ignoring them grin. But there are other behaviors that I don’t have the skill to train around, just as in people.

A nice experiment you might try if the opportunity arises one day. Talk to a child psychologist and an animal behaviorist (trainer who specializes in fixing animal behavior problems) in the same week. They use different words, but pretty much say the same things.

Log in to comment (TMO, Twitter or Facebook) or Register for a TMO account