Chinese Translation: The Foxconn situation

A news story that has been hard to avoid over the last few weeks is the situation at Taiwanese firm Foxconn (the largest exporter in China). There have been a series of suicides at Foxconn factories followed by close scrutiny of Foxconn by both the media and the Chinese government. For background read the news here, here and here.

The following is a translation of a forum post from www.iphone4.tw which purports to originate from a conversation the writer had with a Foxconn employee. Although the original title of the forum post was ‘昨天跟一位富士康朋友聊iPhone 4G’, which translates as ‘I was talking with a Foxconn employee/friend yesterday’, the actual post does not contain any parts of a conversation with this employee and seems to be more of an opinion piece and general overview of the situation.

The post does, however, include some worthwhile analysis on the Chinese government’s motive in attacking Foxconn, and looks into why Terry Gou (the CEO of Foxconn) would want to disrupt the situation by raising the wages of Foxconn’s factory workers so abruptly and by such a degree.

Feedback is more than welcome here as some parts I am a bit unclear, so have done my best to translate. Please leave a message in the comments if you have any ideas on how to translate some parts better, or have an opinion on the situation in China now relating to Foxconn. I’ll cover some of the useful words and 成語 from this post at a later date.

昨天跟一位在富士康工作的朋友聊iPhone 4G…聊著聊著就聊到富士康事件…

I was speaking to a Foxconn employee yesterday about the iPhone 4G… after talking for a while we naturally ended up taking about the Foxconn news of late.

成也蘋果…敗也蘋果…

Apple has had successes… they have also had failures…

(Foxconn’s) successes and failures are both due to Apple

蘋果電腦這家原本是早期個人電腦的巨人, 因為策略一時失誤以及比爾蓋茲, Intel的崛起, 從此一厥不振將近20年…

Apple Computer is one of the original computer giants, but due to some strategic mistakes, along with Bill Gates, and the rise of Intel, they struggled for 20 years to recover.

這期間蘋果遭受IT產業界的欺凌, 嚐遍無盡的苦果…

During this time Apple was subjected to humiliation in the IT industry, and had to suffer through hardships.

連創始人賈伯斯也被迫悄然離開…但就在iPod的出現讓原本可能消失在IT產業的蘋果燃起一線生機…而iPhone的出現更讓蘋果改變IT產業的 生態一舉再次榮登霸主的寶座…

Even Steve Jobs, one of Apple’s founders, was quietly forced to leave…but when the iPod appeared, it sparked a new opportunity for the once dying Apple. Then, when the iPhone was released, it completely changed the landscape of the IT industry, Apple could once more claim their throne.

老霸主HP因為他將要裁員9000人…Nokia因為他營收短少一半…Wintel因為他輝煌的時代也即將告一段落…

HP announced 9000 layoffs, Nokia’s sales were cut in half, the golden age of Wintel was coming to an end…

蘋果再次奪霸幕後最大的推手不是別人就是郭董的鴻海, 富士康以及數十萬的大陸廉價勞工…這次富士康東筦龍華廠12連跳事件的第一跳就是iPhone 4G原型機遺失所引起…工程師家屬取得優渥的撫恤金後(約台幣120萬), 後續接連11跳都跟優渥撫恤金脫離不了關係(死者生前遺書敘述)…

Behind the scenes of Apple’s re-found success was Hon Hai, Foxconn, and tens of thousands of cheap Chinese workers. Out of the 12 suicides at Foxconn, the first was due to losing an early model iPhone 4G. The family of the engineer received a large sum of compensation (about $120,0000NT ~ £26,000UK/$38,000US), leading to the belief that the following 11 suicides were connected with the possibility of compensation (the notebook of a dead worker explains this).

中共中央見機不可失見縫插針, 派員潛伏富士康28天…中央電視台罕見專題報導富士康跳樓事件, 中港媒體大肆報導醜化郭董及富士康壓榨勞工…此事件引發大陸民眾一片譁然, 人人爭相討論什麼時候或是誰將是下一位犧牲者?

The Chinese government didn’t waste any time in sending people into Foxconn for 28 days… CCTV rarely reported on the suicides, the media in China and Hong Kong defamed Foxconn CEO Terry Gou and reported on the the pressure workers were under within Foxconn…this caused a storm of protests from within China, and sparked talks of who would be the next victim and when it would happen.

而中共中央派員300名進駐龍華廠看守…此時郭董承受來自全中國13億人民及中共中央無窮無盡的壓力…他老兄原本六神無主似的在龍華廠不停的鞠躬 道歉…

Following, the Chinese government sent 300 people to watch over the factory. Under pressure from the both 1.3 billion Chinese and the Chinese government, Foxconn CEO Terry Gou remained at the factory, in a constant state of apology.

第一段解決方法富士康員工全員加薪33%而蘋果總裁賈伯斯也背書願意提撥3%的MSRP(市場成交價)贊助郭董, 此時民怒已稍微平息, 中央電視台專題報導稱頌郭董”以薪換心”原本已經達成中共中央全面提升中國勞工基本薪資的目的, 此時廣州本田因薪資也鬧罷工事件(原來在大陸也可以罷工, 靠!!怎麼從來也沒聽過在台灣有人敢因為薪資鬧罷工), 而本田也以加薪22%解決…

The first solution (to the suicide problem) was a 33% pay rise for Foxconn employees, in support of the move Apple CEO Steve Jobs raised the MSRP of Apple products by 3%. This settled the angry population somewhat, CCTV praised Gou as ‘exchanging money for love’, (Foxconn) had already met the minimum wage set by the Chinese government – at the same time Honda’s factory workers in Guang Zhou were striking (so Chinese workers can actually go on strike, wow!! I’ve never even heard of Taiwanese workers going on strike over pay), Honda also resolved the issue with a 22% pay rise.

第二段郭董不知哪根筋不對自己自動再加薪富士康員工工資到66%…此時全中國勞工已經按耐不住了…

The second time Gou raised the workers’ by 66%, at this time the Chinese workforce was adding on pressure.

第三段郭董不愧是狐與虎的化身直接一次到位加薪富士康員工工資到120%, 這下球踢回給中共中央並確定引爆全中國工潮…

The third time, Gou was like a fox or tiger, and raised the pay to 120%, the ball was now back in the government’s court, and caused a stir among Chinese workers…

我來分析為什麼郭董連利潤都不要也要玩死中國勞動市場,

I’ll analyse why Gou didn’t care about profit, and wanted to play with the Chinese labour market…

第一, 不滿中共中央的連環計:

Firstly, he wasn’t happy about the Chinese government’s ‘interlocked strategy’:

中共中央見富士康12連跳, 不僅不封鎖消息中央台還見縫插針專題報導…中共中央想醜化郭董跟富士康用低工資壓榨中國勞工的形象以達成要企業調整基本工資以及強迫企業西進為目的, 但中共中央找錯對象了…

The Chinese government after seeing the 12 incidents at Foxconn didn’t lock down the information, on the contrary they used every opportunity to report about it. The Chinese government wanted to demonise Gou and Foxconn for only paying minimum wage, they wanted companies to raise their workers’ wages, and force companies to move westward, but they chose the wrong person to mess with…

瘋瘋的郭董知道中共中央的目的他的智囊團獻給郭董一個連中共中央都意想不到的事, 那就是無限制的加薪…這個結果郭董將球踢回給中共中央, 這下事情大條了…

Gou knew what the government was up to, and his advisors gave his an option even the government didn’t thing would happen – to keep increasing wages. This resulted in the ball being back in the government’s court once again, from then on things got …

一次加薪120%(原本900RMB加到2000RMB), 小弟自從踏入社會後從來也沒聽過有人加薪是以倍數計算, 這後果是怎樣大大們應該可想而知那就是引發中國勞資雙方對立的大工潮…

The first time wages were raised by 120%, from the original 900RMB (£90) to 2000RMB (£200), no one had ever heard of wage raise that was a multiple of the original wage, the result was caused a stir between labour and capital…

平平都是做12小時苦工哪家工廠沒達到富士康的加薪水準任誰也會心理不平衡…工人因薪資向心力不穩很容易引發意想不到的事件發生…最可怕就是勞方 非理性反噬資方或是全國性大罷工, 大工潮…

Anyone working a 12 hour shift in a factory without the same salary as a Foxconn worker would obviously not be happy. The instability of wages among workers means that it’s easy to cause the unexpected, from unreasonable behaviour to even national strikes…

如果鬧到這個局面那不只是64天安門學潮事件那麼簡單了…待看後續精采劇情發展…

If the situation could be agitated to that degree, then it wouldn’t have been as easy as the student rising at Tiananmen… look how the situation developed…

第二, 一刀砍死所有競爭對手一次到位:

Secondly, with one swipe he could cut out the competition:

IT相關業界的大大們都知道, 鴻海富士康做的產品是包山包海什麼都做…逼不得已才會外購零件…他的製造成本已經是業界最低了(毛利最高)其他競爭對手如廣達, 華碩(合碩), 仁寶, 緯創, 英業達, 金寶(泰金寶), 台達電, Flextronics, 精英…根本無法與他競爭, 而且富士康工程師的素質是最高, 工廠福利最好…

People in the IT world know, Hon Hai Foxconn produces all types of products, they only buy parts form other companies when they have to, and they also have the lowest manufacturing costs (with the highest gross profit),  other companies such as Asus, Compal, Wistron, Inventec, Cal-Comp, Delta, Flextronics etc just can’t compete. In addition to this, the Foxconn designers are of the highest quality, and their factory conditions are the best…

這次郭董員工加薪120%等於要這些競爭對手的命也等於要外購零件供應廠商的命(cost down)…現在製造一台成品毛利3%~5%不等且原廠還每月或是每季要求cost down…有的案子根本就是無償做義務…要這些競爭對手向郭董看齊根本不可能, 後果人為財死, 鳥為食亡, 西瓜偎大邊…這些競爭對手在一, 兩年內消失殆盡(沒工人誰做啊?)…

This time, when Gou increased wages by 120% the fate of Foxconn’s competitors will be the same as Foxconn’s need to buy parts from other companies, for instance: to manufacturer a product the profit margin is 3% to 5% give or take, added to the constant pursuit of lower costs per month/quarter and in some special cases even doing business for free, means that competitors have no chance of competing and within a few years will have disappeared (without workers who wil do the work?)

第三, 集結力量反擊原廠:

Thirdly, he could strike back against brands:

原廠OEM(如蘋果, HP)對這些代工廠就像吸血鬼一樣…一台iPhone 3GS 16G MSRP約300美金, 代工廠毛利3%=9美金=300台幣, 你覺得很少是嗎? iPhone一年賣一億隻算是最好的代工案也只有鴻海能做(其實手機量那麼大毛利應該不到3%), 其他如PC, NB出貨量少毛利更低…OEM知道你這家代工廠cost down能力太差就轉單給別家做, 但OEM最怕就是代工廠商一家家減少(沒辦法大勢所趨)他的談判籌碼就越來越少…

(note: the usage of OEM in the passage above actually referred to Apple and HP as OEMs, and the factories as sub contractors. For clarity I have used ‘brands’ to refer to companies such as Apple, and manufacturers to refer to the factories)

Brands like Apple and HP suck the lifeblood out of the manufacturers… out of the cost of an iPhone 3GS 16G with an RRP of about $300US, the manufacturer only sees 3%, or $9US (about $300NT, or £6), do you think that’s not much, don’t you? If Apple sells 100M iPhones in a year, this is an ideal case for the manufacturer, and only Hon Hai is capable of doing so, (although in actual fact, if the sales reached 100M the manufacturer’s cut probably wouldn’t even be 3%), other PC companies cut is less than this…if the manufacturers can’t keep costs down then they will lose business, but what these brands (Apple, HP etc) are most scared of is a reduction on the number of manufacturers, which in turn will reduce their bargaining power.

郭董就是要利用加薪工資120%搞死其他競爭對手…壯大自己的實力進而與OEM爭取更高的代工毛利或是自創品牌與OEM直接競爭(FOXCONN iPhone 4G)…你說那OEM不會自己設廠自己做? 那更慘OEM設廠自己做不會比鴻海做成本更低…這些老美精算的狠…

Gou wanted to use the pay increase of 120% to kill of the competition, increasing his own strength to fight for higher percentages with the existing brands, or even compete with them directly (Foxconn iPhone 4G). You might say, why wouldn’t one of these big brands just open thier own factory? but which brand can compete with Hon Hai on costs?

第四, 惡搞郭董, 自食惡果, 玉石俱焚:

Fourthly, Gou suffered from his own actions:

中共中央為提高基本工資及大西進兩大國策, 瞄準富士康跳樓事件開第一槍…

The Chinese government in it’s aim to raise the minimum wage and carry out their stratgey of moving companies westward (inland), used the suicides at Foxconn to fire the first shot…

但郭董抓狂一次最工資加到120%=900RMB加到2000RMB加上供吃住費用, 再加上保險費, 加班費, 獎金=一個富士康基本員工每月成本約4000RMB=20000台幣, 這不跟台灣的基本工資差不多…

But crazily, Gou had in one move raised the wages by 120% from 900RMB to 2000RMB, this, together with the cost of employees room and board, insurance, overtime pay and bonuses, meant that the monthly cost of each employee was about $4000RMB, $20,000NT (£424UK, $616), this is about the same as the minimum wage in Taiwan…

哪個外商到大陸設廠受得了?? 郭董這樣加薪不就等於讓大陸廉價勞工的優勢消失殆盡?? 平平是20000台幣的工資為什麼要在大陸設廠, 在台灣設廠不是更好搞不好還免稅政府還有優惠還可以掛牌上市上櫃(吃乾抹淨)…

Who would want to set up a factory in China now? Could Gou’s actions have affected China’s ability to compete on cheap labour? With an average wage of $20,000NT, why would you want to set up a factory in China, when you could do it in Taiwan without being subject to taxes and with a favourable government…

所以中共中央的原意是不錯但是對象找錯人了…

So, the Chinese government’s motive was correct, but they still chose the wrong opponent…

郭董這招挑戰中共挑戰OEM之玉石俱焚之計不愧為”FOX”CONN, 郭董你有guts我崇拜你, 敬仰你, 你比王永慶, 李嘉誠, 巴菲特, 比爾蓋茲, 賈伯斯…之流偉大幾百倍, 你是世界經營之神…

Gou has guts to take on the Chinese government and also challenge big brand companies, Foxconn is worthy if it’s name “Fox”conn. Gou I worship you, respect you, you are a hundred times better than Wang Yung-ching, Li Ka-shing, Buffet, Bill Gates, Jobs, you are a business god (yes, this is actually the translation ;))

郭董點燃這一把足以焚毀中國世界工廠之火…

Gou has ignited a fire that could burn down all of China’s factories…

待看中共中央與數以百萬計的外資廠商怎麼滅這把熊熊烈火…

Let’s see how the Chinese government and the hundreds of foreign investment companies put out this fire…

Original Source

  • oops

    成也蘋果…敗也蘋果…

    could be translated in this way:
    Success and failure are both due to Apple Inc

  • ah, I see, so it is saying Foxconn’s success and failure are both due to Apple?

  • Willaim

    yeah, that’s right

    good work