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.