Apple's top manufacturer says China has 'unreasonable' laws and regulations and its workers should be allowed more overtime

  • Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou would rather manufacture under U.S. law than Chinese regulations.
  • One of his complaints with Chinese law is the amount of overtime that factory workers are allowed to take.
  • Gou also said Foxconn’s top challenge is the U.S.-China trade war.

Foxconn argued on Friday that it should be governed under U.S. regulations, instead of Chinese regulations, because its customers, like Apple, are American.

Terry Gou, Foxconn’s chairman, made the remarks at the manufacturer’s annual shareholder meeting, according to Bloomberg and Reuters.

“China has tougher overtime regulations than the U.S. and the European Union, and they understand those are unreasonable regulations, unreasonable laws,” Gou said, according to Bloomberg.

Overtime is one of the most critical labour issues in electronics manufacturing. Legally, workers cannot work over 60 hours in a week in many Chinese regions, but workers get paid 1.5 times for overtime or weekend hours, so many workers want to take those shifts.

Apple found last year that Foxconn interns had worked more than 40 hours per week assembling the iPhone X. Foxconn is Apple’s most important manufacturing partner.

Many of Foxconn’s factories are based in China, although it is based in Taiwan. It will break ground on a $US10 billion factory in Wisconsin next week, which will be its biggest U.S. facility. Foxconn received billions in state and local aid in exchange for a promise to create jobs. President Donald Trump is expected to attend the ceremony.

But some of Trump’s other economic policies, such as saber-rattling over tariffs, are less popular with Foxconn. Gou said that the biggest challenge that Foxconn is facing is the prospect of a trade war with China.

“The biggest challenge we’re facing is the U.S.-China trade war. In terms of how we manage and adapt, this is something all our high-level managers are making various plans on,” Gou said, according to Reuters.

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