, TAIPEI, March 4, 2011 – Taiwan\’s IT giant Foxconn is set to transform its factories in southern China into an "engineering base" while moving about 200,000 jobs to central areas of the country, a report said Friday.
"We will make Shenzhen an engineering campus where we do pilot production only," Louis Woo, special assistant to group chairman Terry Gou, was quoted by the Financial Times as saying.
Foxconn\’s plan to turn its manufacturing hub in Shenzhen, across the border from Hong Kong, into an "engineering campus" reflects a broader trend to move low-end factories from coastal zones to cheap inland provinces, it said.
Foxconn was not immediately available for comment.
Foxconn is the world\’s largest maker of computer components and produces goods for Apple, Sony and Nokia. It currently employs around one million workers in China, about half of them based in Shenzhen.
After the planned changes, Foxconn’s workforce in Shenzhen would eventually drop below 300,000, the report cited Woo as saying.
The company has been expanding its workforce in central China as it seeks to scale back the size of its biggest facility in Shenzhen, which has been plagued by a series of employee suicides in recent years.
Foxconn has previously said it plans to hire up to 400,000 new workers this year mostly in the central provinces, partly to keep up production while cutting maximum overtime hours.
At least 13 employees at Foxconn died in apparent suicides last year, according to Chinese state media.
Labour rights activists have blamed the deaths on tough working conditions, highlighting the difficulties millions of factory workers face across China.