Rail World Real Learning"
F O X C O N N AND B L O O D IPHONES?
Research Associate Lisa Duke
prepared this case under the
supervision of Professor Rosa
Chun as a basis for class
discussion rather than to
illustrate either effective or
ineffective handling of a
business situation. This case is
based on widely available
For Terry Gou, 2010 should have been a good year. He topped the Forbes billionaire list as the richest man in Taiwan and his company Foxconn was listed as 112 in Fortune's "Global 500" rankings and appeared again on the "Most Admired Companies" list for 2010. Gou was also coming up to the third year of a happy marriage with his second wife, Delia, 24 years his junior. A man who had the world at his feet, with fame, fortune and happiness, Gou said:
I am not interested in knowing how much [money] I have. I don't care ... I am working for society. I am working for my employees. Life suddenly changed for Gou when one of his employees, 19-yearold L i Hai, plunged to his death from a fifth-floor window at Foxconn's Longhua factory in Shenzhen, which produces 137,000 iPhones each day (approximately 90 a minute). His death in May 2010 marked the 11' suicide attempt by employees at the factory in four months.
News of the latest suicide flashed around the globe, sparking headlines including: "Why Foxconn Cannot Stop Its Suicides." The exact number of suicides was unknown. Newspapers were reporting
different figures, which implied possible censorship. Media and public opinion were hounding Gou. Foxconn's major customers, Apple, Hewlett-Packard (HP), Dell and Nokia, all announced they would investigate conditions and working practices at Foxconn's factories. At a press conference, Gou, looking anguished, admitted to the reporters that:
I did not take the suicides seriously previously but these last two months, I've been afraid to answer the phone late at night.
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