Apple will tap its cash hoard to improve labor conditions in Foxconn plants

Apple is going to spend an unknown portion of its $110+ billion cash hoard toward improving labor conditions in manufacturing facilities run by its contract manufacturer Foxconn, also known as Hon Hai Precision Industry.

This has been confirmed by Terry Gou, the CEO who runs Taipei, Taiwan-based Foxconn which assembles Apple products alongside Pegatron Technology, another Asian contract manufacturer…

According to Reuters, both Apple and Foxconn will spare no expense to improve labor conditions for the more than one million workers employed by Foxconn, the world’s biggest contract manufacturer which also assembles gadgets for Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard and other tech giants.

We’ve discovered that this (improving factory conditions) is not a cost. It is a competitive strength. I believe Apple sees this as a competitive strength along with us, and so we will split the initial costs.

He did not provide a breakdown of how the two partners will split the initial costs.

Gou made a comment during a press conference Thursday announcing Foxconn’s new China headquarters in Shanghai.

Foxconn also promised to increase workers’ salary next month.

In March, Foxconn reached an agreement with Apple to hire tens of thousands of new workers to reduce overtime work, prompting an outrage because workers fear that reduced hours will hurt their pay, which they claim isn’t enough to cover basic needs.

I think both companies are doing the right thing here.

It is also a fact that Foxconn’s high-tech plants are far ahead of the vast majority of other manufacturing facilities in China, especially those in rural areas.

That said, I’m glad Apple decided to tap its billions to do something about labor conditions in Chinese factories.

It was about time, right?