Foxconn responds to CEO's "animals" comment

A few days ago, reports hit the Internet that Terry Gou, the chairman of Foxconn's parent company Hon Hai, said at a recent year-end meeting, "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."

The quote certainly rubbed a lot of people the wrong way, especially since Foxconn has had to deal with some of its workers committing suicide at one of its plants in China back in 2010. Now TechCrunch reports it has received an official response from Foxconn about the statements allegedly made by Gou.

Foxconn's official statement is as follows:

There have been some media reports regarding a conversation that Foxconn Technology Group Chief Executive Officer, Terry Gou, had with the Director of the Taipei Zoo, Chin Shih-chien, at an employee event organized by Foxconn on January 15 in Taipei to benefit a range of charitable organizations through a contribution of USD1.4 million. In an effort to encourage his management team to learn from all aspects of life, Mr. Gou did say that, since all humans are members of the animal kingdom, it might be possible to learn from Mr. Chin’s experience as his team looks for lessons that can be applied to business. Mr. Gou’s comments were directed at all humans and not at any specific group.

While some reports on Mr. Gou’s comments in Mandarin were taken out of context and do not accurately reflect the full scope of that conversation, Mr. Gou does understand how these reports could be misinterpreted and seen as insensitive and he sincerely apologizes to anyone who might be offended by them. At no time did Mr. Gou seek to portray Foxconn employees in the negative context some media reports have suggested.

Foxconn has been under a lot of media attention lately, thanks in part to recent reports that some Foxconn workers at another plant in China had threatened to commit suicide as part of a dispute with management. Foxconn later said the worker dispute had been resolved.

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23 Comments

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Whilst its impossible to say for certain whether this is truly innocent or not... translations are frequently mis understood when translated... In one translation I've seen, a mandarin speaking lady believed that dried fruit was "sweets" and definitely "not food", because food was only eaten at meals.

Oh, boo-hoo. People are way too uptight these days. As a matter of fact, we ARE animals. We share the same routine as our four-legged cousins: we eat, we kill, and we mate.

Get the hell over it.

bjoswald said,
We share the same routine as our four-legged cousins: we eat, we kill, and we mate.
Not in that order I hope.

FMH said,
Foxconn donated $1.4 million to a zoo, when their own employees are struggling horribly?

Their employees are struggling horribly because of us in the west, not because they donated money to a zoo.

Twisp said,

Their employees are struggling horribly because of us in the west, not because they donated money to a zoo.

Or probably both!

That donation was just a marketing sham tbh.

What a lame cover-up. Still he sees humans as part of the Kingdom Animilia (Which is technically correct). We are Human beings which is a person, especially as distinguished from other animals or as representing the human species.

Gladiatorus said,
Excuses, excuses...

Exactly. They made his insult sound like a very philosophical and intellectual remark!

Yeah pretty inappropriate comment to make at a year-end meeting. Who was he trying to "impress." Without such a large dedicated workforce Mr. CEO would have zero successes to report.

thommcg said,
Foxconn workers aren't animals, they're things.

In the business world they call them assets or property. Seriously though: Foxconn, company of the year!

Vannos said,

In the business world they call them assets or property. Seriously though: Foxconn, company of the year!

"People are our number one resource" as they used to say at my last job.

thommcg said,
Foxconn workers aren't animals, they're things.

Oh yeah, let's put them lower then animals, things! You know, they're actually human beings.

link6155 said,

Oh yeah, let's put them lower then animals, things! You know, they're actually human beings.

I was being facetious. Yeeessshhh

cralias said,
It's insulting to animals, though.

Right? I don't think I could ever make numerous animals want to kill themselves. Even if it was taken out of context, theres still the whole people killing themselves thing under your payroll.

Lucas said,
The only animal here is that guy.

Because you obviously know the full context and everything about this guy. For all we know he said it in Chinese and it was mistranslated.