December 19, Jiemian News reprinted a report from Reuters that Wistron, a Taiwan-funded enterprise that had withdrawn from mainland China, was beaten and looted in India and suffered another heavy blow that day. The world-renowned electronics brand Apple announced to the outside world that it will not give this Taiwanese company new business until Wistron’s southern India plant takes corrective measures.
A week ago, Wistron’s factory in Narassapura, India, was damaged by its employees. About 2,000 Indian employees who were seriously owed wages participated in smashing, smashing, looting and burning, causing losses of up to Rs 5 billion. Flextronics immediately declared to the outside world that this was a crime involving local violent elements, and that it was non-existent to be underpaid.
When we interpret the news at that time, we also mentioned that judging from the virtues of Taiwan-funded enterprises entering the mainland in the early stage, it is very possible to owe wages. Now it is not difficult to see from Apple’s statement that this should be determined to be caused by Wistron’s lack of salary. Apple stated that Wistron’s violation of its “Supplier Code of Conduct” “resulted in delays in salary payments for some employees in October and November.”
After the incident, the local area immediately organized an investigation. According to initial investigations conducted by Indian officials, Wistron and its human resources intermediary service providers exploited laborers and stole their wages, which seriously violated local labor laws! In addition, they also used extra allowances to trick workers into not taking a break. As a result, not only did they fail to pay but also delayed their wages. Some employees only received 500 rupees (less than 50 RMB).
As an iron proof, Wistron had to bow its head and admit its mistake. The company earlier issued a statement acknowledging that some workers in its southern India plant were paid unreasonably, and said it would replace an executive in charge of Indian operations.
It can be seen from this that Wistron is completely copying what it did when it first entered the mainland: wages are too low, working hours are irregular, working conditions are poor, workers are exploited, and wages are not paid on time… This is exactly what Taiwanese capital has done for decades. The secret of industrial and enterprise conquering cities all over the world is to squeeze workers crazily to reduce costs and make competitors unprofitable to withdraw from the market.
I still remember Foxconn’s CEO Terry Gou’s wild words when he was running for the so-called “President” in 2019, claiming that he had fed millions of migrant workers in mainland China. It now seems that millions of mainland workers have fattened him. When Terry Gou and Foxconn left the mainland, it was difficult for them to go to the United States or India. However, after Terry Gou and Foxconn, their own companies in the mainland rose rapidly.
In recent years, Taiwanese-funded electronic foundry companies have been withdrawing from the mainland one after another in response to the call of the Trump administration. Among these companies, Wistron is the fastest-growing one, and has moved the industrial chain to India, Malaysia, Vietnam and the United States. In July this year, Wistron sold its Kunshan factory to Luxshare Precision at a price of 3.3 billion yuan, giving up all the iPhone foundry business in mainland China.
There are two considerations for the withdrawal of Taiwan-funded enterprises like Wistron from China. On the one hand, it is political considerations to avoid the risk of the US government’s attack on China’s high-tech industries; on the other hand, it is cost considerations. The mainland’s labor protection laws and regulations have become more and more perfect, and wages have therefore risen. However, it is very rare for large companies such as Wistron to fully retreat. After all, the mainland is the world’s second largest economy and will soon surpass the United States to become the world’s largest consumer market.
In a country like India, although workers’ wages are lower than those in the mainland, due to poor road traffic conditions, unsound industrial chains, and poor quality of industrial workers, the overall labor cost has not decreased, but has increased. In order to reduce costs and maintain competitiveness, Taiwanese companies have to squeeze local employees even more cruelly. The use of the term hacking and arrogance in investigations is a strong proof.
Although violence cannot solve the problem, this time we have to stand on the side of Indian workers: where there is exploitation and where there is oppression, there will be resistance.