That promise of a raise for Foxconn employees – well it maybe an empty promise

Much ado was made prior to the big Apple WWDC conference about how Steve Jobs was promising that the employees at Foxconn, the factory in China that fabricates most of Apple’s products, could look forward to getting a raise. This of course was repeated throughout the tech blogosphere just as reports of more suicides at the huge factory that employs some 400,000 people.

The thing is that news out of Taiwan today is that the parent company of Foxconn, Hon Hai Group was seriously considering the closure of the their mainland China operations. Now to be clear this is based on a report by Chinese-language news site ON.CC (Google translation here) and The Register – where this was reported – hasn’t been able to verify the story yet.

The announcement came at a shareholders meeting of the Hon Hai Group, Foxconn’s parent company. Chairman Terry Gou said that production would be withdrawn from mainland China and shifted to Taiwan, Vietnam, and India. There are currently 800,000 Foxconn workers on the mainland, and if all Foxconn manufacturing there eventually ceases, they would all be out of work.

Foxconn has been under fire recently for a series of suicides at its Shenzhen, China factory. Gou said that the Chinese government had sent 200 inspectors to the plant, which employs somewhere between 270,000 (Financial Times) and 400,000 (Steve Jobs) workers, and that Foxconn management had been exonerated.

If this is indeed the case I guess that means Jobs won’t have to worry about any pay raises in China.