Foxconn is known as one of the biggest tech manufacturers in the world, routinely building electronics and components for some of today’s most popular tech brands, including Apple, Hewlett Packard, and Sony, just to name a few. Recently, one of the company’s senior managers has been reportedly hit with charges over stealing and then reselling about 5,700 iPhone devices manufactured from the Foxconn factory.
The Foxconn executive is only identified by his family name, Tsai, and is said to be facing a maximum of ten years in jail for stealing $1.56 million worth of iPhones, specifically iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s units from the years 2013 to 2014, according to a report published by Agence France Presse. Before being caught red handed, Tsai had been employed as a manager in the testing department of a Foxconn manufacturing center located in the city of Shenzhen in China. He was supposed to scrap the iPhone units he was testing, but apparently, he chose instead to smuggle the devices (with the help of eight other workers from the same factory). Tsai and his accomplices then proceeded to sell the tested units, earning more than one and a half million dollars in the process. Thanks to an internal audit, Foxconn became aware of Tsai’s actions, and promptly reported him to the Chinese authorities.
Technically speaking, Foxconn is only a supplier to Apple (and not a business unit), which means that the iPhone maker is not directly responsible for the Chinese company’s actions. Still, Apple has recently found itself beset with pressure to start decreasing its ties with Foxconn. President-elect Donald Trump for instance is ready to give incentives to Apple if it chooses to manufacture its mobile devices in America from now on. Obviously, Foxconn will not be happy if Apple does take Trump’s offer. But with incidents like Tsai’s indictment, it might be easier for Apple to cut or minimize its ties with Foxconn.
As for Foxconn, it does not help that the company has been hit with several controversies in the last few years. The scandals range from labor disputes to employee misconduct. A couple of years ago for instance, five workers were charged with breach of trust in Taiwan for allegedly soliciting hundreds of millions in Taiwanese dollars in kickbacks from suppliers in exchange for clearing quality checks and purchasing their equipment. Oh, and there’s also reports of employee suicides and underage employment.
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