Hon Hai Precision Industry (2317.TW; Foxconn, 2038.HK), the world’s largest contract manufacturer of electronics products, plans to increase its mainland-based workforce by 9% to one million this year, the Wall Street Journal reported. The Taiwan-headquartered firm, which assembles products for the likes of Apple (APPL.NASDAQ) and Nokia (NOK.NYSE, NOA3.NWB, NOK1V.OMX), then hopes to expand its China workforce by an additional 20-30% in 2011. However, Hon Hai will reduce its headcount in Shenzhen to 300,000-350,000 over the next five years from a current level of 470,000. It intends to convert the plants into R&D and quality-testing centers and move more manufacturing inland. The company was hit by a spate of suicides at its facilities in Shenzhen earlier this year. It responded by raising employee wages and installing safety nets around worker dormitories to thwart jumpers. Hon Hai says it also plans to cut overtime to 36 hours a month from about 80 hours now.
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