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Cellphones Businesses Apple

Chinese Employee Loses iPhone Prototype, Kills Self 514

Posted by kdawson
from the taking-the-job-way-too-seriously dept.
tlhIngan writes "Physical intimidation of a Foxconn employee, 25 year-old Sun Danyong, and a possibly-illegal search of his house may have led to suicide after an iPhone prototype in his possession was lost. Foxconn is Apple's long-time manufacturing partner for the iPhone. Entrusted with 16 iPhone prototypes, Danyong discovered that one was missing and searched the factory for it. When it didn't turn up, he reported the incident to his boss, who ordered his apartment searched. There are reports of physical intimidation by Foxconn security personnel. This ended tragically on Thursday at 3 AM, when Danyong jumped from his apartment building to his death." VentureBeat notes that "Apple exerts immense pressure on its business partners [to] help it maintain secrecy." An Apple spokesperson said this to CNet: "We are saddened by the tragic loss of this young employee, and we are awaiting results of the investigations into his death. We require our suppliers to treat all workers with dignity and respect."
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Chinese Employee Loses iPhone Prototype, Kills Self

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  • Re:Poor guy... (Score:5, Informative)

    by LunaticTippy (872397) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @04:13PM (#28774111)
    I had the same misconception but it is easily dispersed.

    According to this [who.int] the top 7 are not Asian. China is way down there, below France, Poland, Switzerland, Uruguay.

    Country, Male Suicide per 100k, Female suicide per 100k, total pop suicide per 100k, year
    Lithuania 68.1 12.9 38.6 2005
    Belarus 63.3 10.3 35.1 2003
    Russia 58.1 9.8 32.2 2005
    Slovenia 42.1 11.1 26.3 2006
    Hungary 42.3 11.2 26.0 2005
    Kazakhstan 45.0 8.1 25.9 2005
    Latvia 42.0 9.6 24.5 2005
    Japan 34.8 13.2 23.7 2006

    I assumed the suicide rate would be much higher in Asia, but I guess it is just reported more or happens in more high-profile cases or something.
  • by e9th (652576) <e9th.tupodex@com> on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @04:19PM (#28774181)
    That's an interesting question. This Digitimes article [digitimes.com] published the day before he died, but after he had reported the loss, claims that Apple and Sony are cutting back on Foxconn orders, while Dell, Asustek, and HP are climbing on board.
  • Re:Poor guy... (Score:5, Informative)

    by MBGMorden (803437) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @04:22PM (#28774231)

    There were 5,400 suicides in the UK in 2007. There have been more in other years.

    A raw stat without comparison is meaningless though. 5,400 sounds like a lot, but is it really?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_suicide_rate [wikipedia.org]

    Looking at this list, it appears that the UK is 66th on the list for suicide rate. The US is 43rd. China is 26th and Japan is 8th. South Korea is 11th and Hong Kong (not sure why this didn't get lumped with China) 18th.

    That said, not all Asian countries are high on the list. The Philippines is 86th and Thailand is 57th. Singapore is 48th.

    If anything, the trend I see is not East Asian countries being high on the list, but rather a lot of Eastern European/North and North Western Asian countries (ie, Russia and it's western neighbors) being pretty high up.

  • Re:Poor guy... (Score:5, Informative)

    by vishbar (862440) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @04:53PM (#28774701)
    Oddly enough, China is #1 for highest percentage of female suicide.
  • by Bill of Death (777643) * on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @04:54PM (#28774711)
    False. The four pairs of New Balance shoes currently in my house were all made in China.
  • Re:Poor guy... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Bigjeff5 (1143585) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @05:09PM (#28774949)

    I haven't heard much about China, but in Japan (8th highest suicide rate) "losing face" can end your career. Submitting a bad report and having your boss say "Maybe you should re-write that" is akin to a death sentance. Their career at best will go nowhere, and at worst the boss will soon find another place for you. That doesn't pay as well. If at all. /enddramaticuseofperiod

    Different cultures are different. That should be apparent. In the US, a high importance is placed on the individual. Selfishness reigns, and if your boss tells you your project sucks, he can shove it. If he tries to stifle your career, you can go somewhere else. Other cultures see things differently, and a person who leaves one company for no apparent reason may be seen as tainted, and not welcome somewhere else.

    I can't apply that directly to this case, but you get the point. You can't look at another culture from your culture's point of view and expect to make sense of it. You can compare cultures, but that's a whole 'nuther exercise, and an extremely difficult one to be objective while doing it.

  • by WindBourne (631190) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @05:16PM (#28775063) Journal
    China has their Yuan fixed to the dollar, rather than allowing it to float freely. If you take any value around GDP in China (or India) of a common money, then it is total nonsense. As it is, many economist think that the Yuan should be 300-400% higher (i.e. about 1.5-2 yuan/dollar instead of the 7 yuan / dollar that the run).
  • Re:suppliers... (Score:3, Informative)

    by xenocide2 (231786) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @05:47PM (#28775435) Homepage

    I heard a piece on NPR about Chinese firms hiring Americans to present a "foreign firm" look to what is truthfully a local company. For whatever reasons, Chinese firms feel discriminated against for being Chinese by both foreign companies and other Chinese firms.

    I'm not sure that hiring actors as negotiators for an hour is helping the whole trustworthy stereotype...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @06:05PM (#28775669)

    There are a few lines of New Balance shoes made in the USA of >70% USA-origin materials (such as the 991/992/993 line), and several more lines made in USA of 70% USA materials. Basically, as New Balance has grown over the last 10 years, they have expanded by importing rather than by building new factories in the USA.

  • Top 5, not Top 7 (Score:3, Informative)

    by Mal-2 (675116) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @06:09PM (#28775707) Homepage Journal

    Your top five are not in Asia. You may not think of it as such, but Kazakhstan is most definitely an Asian country.

    Mal-2

  • by _xeno_ (155264) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @06:38PM (#28776007) Homepage Journal

    Half-false. There are New Balance factories in the US.

    However, when I went looking for a way to find a New Balance shoe that was made in the US, I failed. All the New Balance shoes I've ever seen were stamped "Made In China."

    They seem to have greatly fixed up their website now, though. There's now a "Made In USA" section for men's [nbwebexpress.com] and women's [nbwebexpress.com] shoes. So if you want to buy one of the small fraction of shoes that are made in the US, you can.

  • Re:Lithuania? (Score:2, Informative)

    by MrCrassic (994046) <deprecated@e m a . il> on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @08:43PM (#28777041) Journal

    That's what I meant. I didn't realize you were referencing the fact that Lithuania has the highest suicide rate going now. Sorry about that.

  • by jonadab (583620) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @09:46PM (#28777463) Homepage Journal
    > China has their Yuan fixed to the dollar, rather than allowing it to float freely.

    For China, having the Rinminbi pegged to a strong foreign currency is probably a good choice, for the time being. It's easier to maintain than a specie standard, especially in the modern world, and it effectively delegates the problem of monetary policy at a time when China has bigger issues to deal with, such as how to effectively allow the continued modernization of their economy and the urbanization of their populace in a systematic and controlled fashion, balancing the need to let market forces take the economy where it needs to go against the need to prevent excessive abruptness and, frankly, chaos. They're trying to transform themselves from a third-world agrarian dystopia into a major first-world post-industrial power in only a few decades, and that's a major undertaking. They don't really need the added complication of managing inflationary pressures at the same time. Hence, a pegged currency.

    And as strong foreign currencies go, the dollar is one of their better options. They wouldn't peg to the Yen for political reasons, and there probably aren't enough Swiss Francs available in circulation to make that currency a practical peg for a nation as large as China. That leaves the Euro, the Pound Sterling, or the US Dollar as the most obvious options. The Dollar has been around longer than the Euro, so it probably seems safer (remember, Chinese culture is conservative on the whole and tends toward a relatively long view), and as for the Pound Sterling, the Chinese may not understand all the cultural reasons why the UK won't switch to the Euro (heck, most Americans probably don't fully understand this, and our culture looks practically identical to England's when you're comparing to China), so they wouldn't be confident that the currency would still be there in a few years. (It will be, but we're talking about a Chinese perspective here.) So, the US Dollar, then, by process of elimination. It kind of just makes sense.

    Asians are pretty smart. Weird, but smart.

    When the Russians figured out that communism wasn't going to work as an economic system, not knowing what to do about it, they tried to keep going on as they were for a while, and then when it became obvious that they couldn't do that much longer, they tried to switch over to capitalism suddenly; they ended up with oligopoly and are still trying to make capitalism actually work in Russia like it does in the western world. Trying, and having what polite people call "mixed success".

    When the Chinese figured out that communism wasn't going to work as an economic system, they actively starting *changing* it. The system they have now still isn't nearly as good as western capitalism, but it's better than what Russia's still stuck with, and the Chinese system is improving visibly with each passing decade. Give it another thirty years, and it might just about *be* western-style capitalism, in everything but name. (Note that I'm only talking here about their economic system, not their government in general. They still don't have free speech, for instance. But you can have a thriving economy without that: Nazi Germany did, until they started losing the war.)
  • by Pinky's Brain (1158667) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @10:49PM (#28777829)

    That they will do anything that it takes to prevent this from happening again.

  • by abionnnn (758579) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @12:18AM (#28778297)
    Your information is outdated, this was true up to 2005, but now the currencies are no longer pegged. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I assume you're confusing pegging with the fact that the RMB is not convertible to the USD.

The superior man understands what is right; the inferior man understands what will sell. -- Confucius

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