A group of Chinese workers from Foxconn Technology Group (富士康) arrived at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport yesterday for a seven-day tour of the country, courtesy of their employer.
The 216 Foxconn employees from 17 provinces and 21 factories in China are scheduled to visit many popular tourist sites in Taiwan.
The company will be footing the bill for all costs involved, because the tour is part of a plan by group chairman Terry Gou (郭台銘) to help reduce worker stress and encourage high-performing workers, according to a report in the -Chinese-language United Daily News.
Foxconn, which is one of Apple Inc’s major suppliers, has denied media accusations that it exploits its workers and has been trying to rid itself of its sweatshop image.
Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密), parent company of Foxconn Technology Group, came under heavy selling pressure last week after a plunge in Apple shares on Wall Street, and was down more than 10 percent from a week earlier to close at NT$103.00 on Friday.
Hon Hai was affected by fears that possible cuts in subsidies by telecoms operators for iPhone -users would drag down demand for Apple smartphones, while market speculation that demand for iPads is likely to fall has also impacted the stock, analysts said.
In addition, an agreement between Apple and the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, a Chinese environmental group, to conduct a pollution control audit of the US firm’s supply chain in China added downward pressure on Hon Hai, although the Taiwanese firm has said the audit will not include its Chinese subsidiary.
Whether Hon Hai will be able to reverse the recent share price downturn could depend on its results for the first quarter of this year, analysts said.
The company is scheduled to release its first-quarter unconsolidated earnings this week.
In the first three months of this year, Hon Hai posted NT$789.94 billion (US$26.8 billion) in unconsolidated sales, up 42.59 percent from a year earlier.
The figure was the second--highest quarterly level in the company’s history.
Barclays Capital said it expected Hon Hai to report earnings per share of NT$1.93 for the first quarter.