China is learning the consequences of antagonising Taiwan the hard way. As China got more and more belligerent, Taiwan got closer to countries like India. And as Taiwan got closer to India, Foxconn, a leading Taiwanese tech company that functions as a supplier for Apple, decided to set up a base in India. This was a statement of intent- Foxconn and other Taiwanese players could set up a base in India. And the Chinese got rattled.
Foxconn already runs an iPhone and Apple gadget assembly facility in Tamil Nadu’s Sriperumbudur. This seems to have become a target for the Chinese. The facility has been shut since December 18 and is unlikely to resume operations until January 7. The Foxconn factory employs over 17,000 people and a China angle is now emerging behind its closure.
Why is the Foxconn facility shut?
The closure was triggered by a mass food poisoning incident at the facility’s hostel for women employees. Last month, women workers at Foxconn’s plant in Sriperumbudur staged a protest after many of their colleagues were hospitalised due to an outbreak of acute diarrhoeal disease. According to an Apple spokesperson, independent auditors were dispatched to undertake additional detailed assessments.
Apple has placed the Sriperumbudur facility on probation, which means that the iPhone maker will not provide new orders to the facility till the issues are sorted out.
China angle emerging
The Week has published an exclusive report that refers to intelligence not alleging, “Chinese aid to the left-leaning workforce inside Foxconn” as the reason for the labour unrest.
The note added that “the knee-jerk reaction to the substandard canteen food causing ill health to a few staff members is an indicator of an international design to destabilise industrial establishments”. It further added that “it is no secret that China was aggrieved over these factories, as, earlier, 48 per cent of the components for Apple iPhone were produced in China.”
The intelligence note also hints at a greater plot involving more facilities run by multinational companies. It pointed out a similar pattern of unrest in multinational companies like Sanmina, Ford, PPG Asian paints, Enfield India Limited among others. It suggested that necessary countermeasures should be taken at the highest level to “thwart nefarious activities”.
China elated by disruption at Foxconn manufacturing facility in Tamil Nadu
China is not even hiding its joy. Global Times, a brash mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) reported, “Foxconn step up hiring in China amid India plant closure.” It stated, “Apple’s major contract manufacturer Foxconn is expanding its recruitment at several plants in the Chinese mainland with higher wages and bonuses, amid extended closure of its Indian plant after a mass food-poisoning incident.”
China has a history of capitalising upon India’s industrial losses.
In 2018, the Sterlite plant at Thoothukudi, which used to produce almost 40 per cent of India’s total copper and enabled the country to become a net exporter of the essential metal, had to be closed amidst protests.
Later, Sterlite had alleged that Chinese companies that had an economic interest in India’s copper imports were behind the plant closure.
China gained big out of the plant closure, as India turned from a net copper exporter to a net copper importer.
Copper is an extremely crucial metal because the by-products made in its manufacturing serve as raw materials for other industries. Sulfuric acid (H2SO4)produced in the copper plants is procured by fertiliser companies to make Single Super Phosphate that is used extensively in cash crops like rice, wheat and cotton.
And this is just about H2SO4. Other by-products like acid slurry and rock phosphate too have important applications. So, as long as you have a copper plant functioning locally, you can procure these raw materials easily. Otherwise, you will have to import them from China and again, it is China which gains big.
How China benefitted by the closure of Sterlite Industries in Thoothukoodi
Sulphuric acid was a by product of Sterlite Industries, this H2SO4 was procured by fertiliser companies in India to manufacture Single Super Phosphate (basal fertiliser for paddy, cotton & standing crops)
— Mahesh 🇮🇳 (@Mahesh10816) February 14, 2021
China is emerging as India’s biggest enemy. Beijing will never cooperate with New Delhi. It is sabotaging the Indian industry. The government must make it a point to go public with this and start naming and shaming China. The internal saboteurs too must be taken to task and there is no point in tolerating pro-China activists in the country.
The gloves have come off and it is time for India to retaliate with fury, landing a few tight punches right into China’s face.
If China wants to sabotage manufacturing facilities in India, then India too must come out with an explicit offer for multinational companies operating in China- dump the CCP and set up a base in India.
What is ‘retaliate with fury’ ? Actually, India can respond with a cool head – if there is even the slightest evidence of foreign funding to any trade union or activist group, the government should immediately ban that group & stop the freebies (ration, cooking gas, all other subsidies) of all members affiliated with such organizations ! Remember, freebies are the Oxygen of Andolan-jeevis – they all subsist on sarkari subsidies … stop that Oxygen & they will come crawling, with their tails firmly between their legs 🤗