Foxconn Employees Exceed 1 Million

Tyler Durden's picture

The Apple borg collective has its foot soldiers too. And it turns out if they were to be mobilized, they would represent the world's fifth largest army... at just over 1 million. Bloomberg reports that the number of employees who diligently bring you your iPad, now exceeds a whopping 1 million. This however, does not make the company the biggest employer in the world: Walmart is reported to have 1.8 million "associates" worldwide, but at Foxconn's rate of growth it would not surprise us if even the staple American company were to be surpassed very soon.

From Bloomberg:

Foxconn Technology Group, the world’s largest contract maker of electronics, said its Chinese workforce now exceeds 1 million employees as the company continues to hire during the holiday season.

Customer demand is spurring hiring, said Woo, who is responsible for supervising employee welfare at the maker of Apple Inc. iPads and Hewlett-Packard Co. computers. China’s exports rose to a record last month, helped by stronger U.S. and European demand, while retail sales grew 19 percent to 1.4 trillion yuan ($210 billion) in October from a year earlier, the Chinese government said.

Foxconn, the largest private employer in China, plans to expand its workforce to as many as 1.3 million by the end of next year, Woo said in an August interview. The Taipei-based company employed about 920,000 workers at that time.

Now here's a thought: what happens when this million realizes it can only buy half a McRib sandwich with the money it makes, courtesy of the primary US export to China, and demands a pay raise. What happens to Apple margins then?

And indicatively, here is a breakdown of troop numbers in various armies.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
TheGreatPonzi's picture

China is piling up huge amounts of wealth since the 1990s, which are drained from the West, but could end absolutely worthless if placed in the wrong currency. I think the Chinese are smart and will go into tangible goods instead of dollars and RMBs. It would be a great psychological shock for them to be losing everything they worked for during the last two decades. 

aint no fortunate son's picture

Are those numbers before or after the suicides?

maddy10's picture

Ahh Despicable Me!

1 million minions working for Steve "Gru" Jobs!!!


dnarby's picture

In the USA, the largest single employer is the Federal government at 2.15 million as of last Feb.

To gather state employee data, go here but as of 2007, all state and local government employees numbered (wait for it)


So clearly, the largest employer in the USA is government, with at least 21 million employees!

thefedisscam's picture

what about local/municipality employees in the U.S.? I bet that is a large number too. So my guess is that on average, for each 100 U.S. population, there are around 10 Governmental employees. that is a huge number

tmosley's picture

If your government killed your children, while China lifted its one child policy, would that mean that China took your children?

That's what happened with our manufacturing jobs.  Don't blame China, blame your own government.

karzai_luver's picture

don't blame your gvt , if the mindless drones would cease to buy China crap then some jobs would come back.


The people here are mindless crybabies always looking for gvt to right every wrong.


Well, it ain't gonna happen. Stop buying Chinese crap , stop investing in companies that do a major part of biz in CHina.


You could do it, but you won't.


4xaddict's picture

I am sure it would be a shock, but hasn't been a problem for the US watching their own, their parents and grandparents savings disappear...........

FreedomGuy's picture

They aren't "piling up" wealth. They are creating wealth. That's what good business does. Its not a static pie. With their newly found economic freedom and innovation they are making things demanded by the world and even their own domestic economy. They don't drain the West any more than the West may be trying to cheat them through currency devaluations. Any reasonable analysis suggests the Chinese have made real stuff for us and accepted currency which will be of dubious value in the future. As you say, perhaps they will be smart and invest in goods, but you cannot turn all that currency into gold, gold denominated in dollars.

They also cannot sell things to us if we drive our own economy into the ground through our own monetary policies and stupid government policy. We can gin up a 2-3000 page set of regulations that no one person has read every month or two. We just flirted with tax increases. We demand more free stuff every year. The United States drives up its own labor costs, increases the complexity of running a business and experiments with its currency.

In the U.S. we have many many advantages to offset cheap labor. Anything China makes has to cross half the world and then be broken out for distribution here after paying various tariffs. That increases time and costs.  There are lots of other advantages that we have, but the bottom line is that no one in stealing any more than the next person. China manipulates its own currency exchange rates, we manipulate our dollar. We pile on regs, complexity and costs while they make it easier. All these things have consequences. At one time, Europe complained that too much stuff was coming from America. It all comes around and will rebalance itself if allowed to do so. 

TheAkashicRecord's picture

Wealth cannot be created.  Thermodynamics.  Wealth is borrowed from the future. Externalities are not internalized in costs.  Don't know what I'm talking about?  Think deeper, think meta.  Human capital cannot and will not replace natural capital.  I'm drawing you the dots, maybe you humans will connect them one day. 

NotApplicable's picture

Wealth contains the human element of value judgement, which can never be quantitized, let alone stolen from the future. The laws of thermodynamics and other finite-state systems simply do not apply here. What is being borrowed from the future (and where the theory does apply) is the rate of wealth creation, which is always limited by the amount of capital available and time required to create it. Eventually, in a net non-wealth producing society, all the natural capital is consumed, so the human capital cannot be efficiently deployed to leverage it, as in the past. Then, human capital is forced into lower orders of production, such as small-plot farming for sustenance.

Natural capital exists as savings in a society where individuals can plan for their future by deciding how to best employ both the human and the natural factors of production they posess. The creation of wealth cannot be denied as it is evidenced by the rising standards of living. That wealth is being destroyed now (malinvestment) in no way dictates that it was never created, but rather borrowed to begin with. Yes, there are limits (as how healthy and mature a society is which affects savings rates), but it is not a zero sum gain as you insist. Rothbard's Man, Economy, and State with Power and Market displays this quite capably, showing how mature, stable societies are able to engage in ever longer-term methods of production to create the wealth that was not possible in a less mature one. It also goes hand in hand with Maslow's hierarchy of needs.

Economics is a social science, not a hard one. Any mature society can create wealth, but immature ones will resort to stealing the future by consuming their parents' savings, or they legalize the plunder that we see today in the financial industry.

FreedomGuy's picture

Well stated and accurate! We have more goods, resources, health and leisure time than the kings of old. I do agree with your plunder, too and that is the key problem to be resolved in this generation. We have unsupportable debt and obligations which future generations will not (and should not) accept.  You and I posted similar responses. I hope others understand.

TheAkashicRecord's picture

This article will give some context from where I am coming from

We need nature, it does not need us, that should shift our paradigm as to what is truly "valuable."  Where are the contingencies and bottlenecks?  Resources (natural capital).  Are used resources reflected accurately in costs?  No.  In order to get us on a sustainable path, it is my thesis that we must somehow internalize the externalities by having a "true cost" of things.     

Your response was a good one from a neoclassical standpoint, but ecological economics is distinguishable from neoclassical economics primarily by its assertion that the economy is embedded within an environmental system, a FINITE environmental system.  I'm trying to think more broadly here.

Kayman's picture

"consuming their parents' savings" is a sin; stealing your childrens' savings is a Crime.

They have no say in the financing of the Criminal Banking Wankers.

FreedomGuy's picture

Wealth IS created when human labor and ingenuity are applied to natural resources and the processes that create things for us. You can argue about "real" and financial economies and you have an argument there. But real wealth is created otherwise we would never progress in history. When someone invents a washing machine so clothes can be done with 10 minutes of labor instead of two hours, real wealth has been created. When someone improves the washing machine production process so the same labor inputs now produce 15% more washers and the price now drops 14% in the market. Real wealth has been created. Real wealth can also be destroyed, through redistribution, war, natural disasters, fraud, etc.

I also will posit an idea with the relatively bright ZH readers that money, in its essence is a transferrable receipt for labor. That's why inflation is theft. I'll explain another time.

TheAkashicRecord's picture

//why inflation is theft. I'll explain another time.//

I definitely agree with that, it's one of the memes I try to propagate, I've yet to see a valid counter-point.  

Have you read about The Worgl Experiment?

I'm big into complementary currencies and such, I wrote a bit about it here.


merehuman's picture

i am sorry your ego could not be contained in a mere human body. Us humans work  to create that wealth. Its a transfer of energy in present time. Stick to drawing dots or be one of us and explain. Otherwise you are just an alien fucknut

TheAkashicRecord's picture

I will explain.

We have to understand the the economy (which is supported by unlimited human ingenuity and only limited by our biological restraints) has to be placed in context.  The context is the environment we depend on.  

Problem 1)
The environment is finite, fractional reserve banking requires infinite growth, and soon or later, these two paths will converge in a not so nice of a way.  


Problem 2)
The complete detachment of currency from value.  Currency should be pegged off of something or have synthetic value derived from the restraints in the system.  The restraints are the inputs, tangible hard things.  This would give us financial incentives to invest in things that raise the restraints, ultimately allowing human ingenuity to flourish.

Now if technology can advance to the point where nanomachines can create raw material, then my point is moot =) 

thefedisscam's picture

This is intended to reply your Nonsense!

China's wealth is NOT drained from the West!! the West has ONLY debt, NOTHING else! China's wealth accumulation is from ripping off the majority of Chinese labor force, from depleting China's own natural resources, and from pollutiing China's own environment. Period!

ZeroPower's picture

Yay way to go, 50,000+ range:)

jimgcpa's picture

So what?  Does Zerohedge hate success?

traderjoe's picture

Is that you Harry?

p.s. Success for whom/who?

Kayman's picture

Losing American families and a way of life so that Jack Welch and Wallymart can engorge themselves. Hell no.

If that is your idea of success, then Hitler's invasion of Russia was a success. Until it wasn't. 

Give your pointy little head a shake.

Kayman's picture

Losing American families and a way of life so that Jack Welch and Wallymart can engorge themselves. Hell no.

If that is your idea of success, then Hitler's invasion of Russia was a success. Until it wasn't. 

And fortunately for the British during WWII, they were not a nation of shopkeepers; they retained their ability to design and MANUFACTURE planes and ships. They had industry.

America's political and corporate offshoring of its manufacturing base is nothing less than treason. 

Give your pointy little head a shake.

karzai_luver's picture

jimgcpa-junior fascist scum......

no , so what, do you love communist scum that murder their own and support N.korea as it maintains a police state that starves its own people.


Well, i wish you great success in your support of that.

You obviously hate our soldiers and what they fight for.

Maybe you hate us for our freedoms as well?




Blankman's picture

Please enlighten us as to what our soldiers are fighting for. I can't think of much. Hold on its coming to me:

1. To enable the govt/banking cartel control over unwitting peoples in foreign lands?

2. To be used as a reminder to us civilians that we had better not misbehave?

3. To maintain our unemployment numbers from shooting through the roof? War = employment.

4. I got it! To search out for Osama who is hiding in one of his batcaves before he and his evil minions can plot out another terrorist act. IF Osama does blow something else up I am going to buy one of those TSA X-ray machines just to X-Ray myself before I leave the house in order to verify with myself that I am not a terrorist. I am easily scared thanks to years of sitting in front of the TV being brainwashed. If that doesn't work I will perform cavity searches upon myself and any guest who tries to enter my house. Even if I invited them. You never know who could be a terrorist.

I don't hate the troops they are just slaves to our govt and I don't think they know any better. I almost joined the army when I was younger. Needed money for beer. Good thing I didn't. I am not sure how well it is spelled out to kids before they join that they will become test subjects for govt pharmaceuticals whilst in the services. You may want to start a question within yourself if you are in your mid forties, can't have children and have ever served in the forces.

Jason T's picture

That's Free Trade for ya.  Until our wages go as low as theirs, there wil be no recover.  Now, had we continued with the American System, that included protectionism from this slave labor made goods, national credit system and public investments in infrastructure like high speed rails, nuclear power and say a mission to mars program, the world would rise up to our standards instead of the other way around.  

Suisse's picture

High speed rail? Why? So city peasants can go back and forth between the useless cities.

A mission to mars? Space missions are just more silly Keynesian Stimulus, it's all malinvestment. We might as well build pyramids.

tmosley's picture

Don't give them any more ideas.

Xedus129's picture

May I remind you respectfully, that without NASA we would not have GPS.  Without the military we would not have radar (yeah that stuff that allows your lexus to park itself).  There are many more examples, I also don't believe in Keynesianism, but the thing is there CAN BE times when gov't stimulus (from real assets not debt) can be used to improve standards of living.  Flame on.

Jason T's picture

City peasents.. you just wrote yourself off there mr. my shit doesn't stink.

FreedomGuy's picture

That is a fallacy about labor and free trade. American auto makers have been losing share for nearly 30 years to the Japanese and Germans who have much higher labor costs. They also eventually built factories here, largely in the South to produce good for us at our own labor costs. We put 25% tariffs on imported "trucks" which includes SUV's and yet they still sell them. Labor is just one of many inputs. We have the second highest corporate tax rate in the world, now. The Federal Register just added over 5000 pages of regulations this year to the 80,000 pages it already has. The tax code I believe has 40k pages (someone chime in here and correct me). We put 100lb backpacks on business here and complain that we cannot run as fast as the Chinese. That is all independent of Mars missions and even high speed rails.

Non Passaran's picture

Good point. Actually a minute ago, while commenting on the previous article about inflation in China, I was thinking how the rise Foxconn employees got earlier this year wasn't insignificant news since the company is so large and their practices followed by other big manufacturers.

What will happen? They'll riot and then the government will quietly persuade the management to raise wages. This year's story wasn't all that dissimilar. Apple may be able to transfer the increased cost onto their customers (as it's a small percentage of product cost and their products are well liked), but not everyone is Apple.

FreedomGuy's picture

My bet is that history will repeat in that they will go through the same labor evolution that America and the West has. They may unionize and demand better conditions and pay and so on. They live in an autocratic state so it is much more risky to do that, but I think it will and is happening even now.

Robslob's picture

Foot soldiers for electronics...just imagine how many real soldiers China has at their disposal should they desire too expand worldwide like the US has over the years...ooops, they probably looked at our deficit and figured out that isn't a good deal for their economy...

Gimp's picture

I will get you all the work you want if you want to work for free!

Telling the two largest employers in the world Foxconn and Walmart.

jmc8888's picture

Walmart has 1.8 million slaves, wow.  What about the chinese factories directly linked to and sells only to Walmart?  Has to be a few million more.

Soon though, even an American worker will only be able to afford 1/2 a mcrib

At ~$2.39, minimum wage won't even buy 3.  While alot better than 1/2 a mcrib, not by MUCH.

The idea always was in offshoring...You export the job, the good is cheaper (through bs free trade), your currency weakens, now you have no job AND a shitty dollar and the chinese good costs as much or MORE than it used to be when we made it in America.

So when a few months roll around and Wal*Mart's employees are being paid the equivalent of 1/2 a McRib sandwich AMERICAN employees, especially at douchebag places like Wal*Mart will wonder why they haven't gotten a raise, and how will that squeeze Mal*fart's margins.


Dapper Dan's picture

I would love to hear what Thomas Friedman has to say about the turn of events since his "world is flat" thesis in 2004,  and  if he has changed his pro free trade ideology.

Opponents of free trade charge that Friedman does not consider the purchasing power of domestic labor as a key driver in economic output. However, Friedman argues that when low-skill and low-wage jobs are exported to foreign countries, more advanced and higher-skilled jobs will be freed up and made available for those displaced by the outsourcing. He theorizes that as long as those whose jobs are outsourced continue to further their education and specialize in their field, they will find better-paying and higher-skilled jobs.



Kayman's picture

Dapper Dan

There is now and never has been Free Trade. Only political interests.

As far as Friedmans theory, I guess China and India forgot to read the book. Higher skilled jobs typically get located around the manufacturing center and highly skilled jobs are still cheaper offshore.

Political claptrap does not a nation make.

Dapper Dan's picture

I concur Kayman, the irony is he no longer is the rich heir or I should say his wife Ann is no longer the rich heir  and one of the  rich upper crust elite now that General Growth Properties has gone bust,  a mere 2 years ago GGP was worth 2 billion now , not so much!!

I guess now Tom and his wife will have to go back to school and further their education, get specialized in there field then they can get better paying   jobs.

The world is flat bitches!


karzai_luver's picture

wait until they start moving all the sell-side b.s. and trader types to China, then you will see some screaming.


Maybe we should use that Da-dongy rating agency as I think the death penality would enforce some attempt at honesty of the rating and sell-side dudes.


You want to repeal most reg here and take that 100lb bag off your bidness leaders?

Death penalty will do it. bad year bogus rating bad advice - bring out the firing squad.

Kayman's picture


Now that is some outsourcing I can agree with.  Shoot these criminals with a ball of their own shit !

Robslob's picture

spot on...

paid in mcribs, too farking funny

doolittlegeorge's picture

i found it interesting that "Hawaii was having logistical issues in hosting the 30,000 East Asians coming for the APEC summit."  Goes to show you what a worthless country the USA has become.  Fuck You Obama...and your "compromising ways."  You've bankrupted "the wealthiest nation on earth."  At least that "i abandon my children" Peter Orzsag has his job with the defunct bitch bank called Citigroup.  Are all the women's hearts a flutter?  Where's a swingin' dick when you need one....

SheepDog-One's picture

But not to worry, as 'consumer confidence' is simply bubbling over with glee in BK USA.

Kayman's picture


Come on now... don't give sold-out-to-GS Barry all the credit.

Sell-out Barry stood on the shoulders of the many sold-out-pygmies before him.