City to aid in Foxconn's recruiting
Updated: 2011-12-26 09:54
By Victoria Ruan (China Daily)
Zhengzhou to help tech firm find 100,000 workers in 2012
BEIJING - The Chinese city of Zhengzhou will help Foxconn Technology Group recruit more than 100,000 workers next year for its local factory, matching the number it helped the maker of Apple Inc iPhones and iPads hire in 2011.
An employee of Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd, which uses the trade name Foxconn, works on a production line in the Longhua Science and Technology Park in Shenzhen. Terry Gou, chairman of Foxconn Technology Group, reduced the long-term growth target for the largest contract manufacturer of electronics in the world by 50 percent as the demand for Apple Inc iPhones and iPads failed to compensate for slowing computer sales.[Photo/Bloomberg]
Zhengzhou has a large workforce, and its labor costs are about two-thirds of those in China's wealthier coastal cities, Zhengzhou Deputy Mayor Xue Yunwei said in an interview. That has given Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan province, an advantage in luring investment from manufacturers, he said.
"You can't find entry-level workers in Shanghai offering only 1,500 yuan ($234) in monthly salary," Xue said in Beijing. "But we can."
Economic growth has averaged 10 percent in the past three decades and that may be sustained by work to sway companies such as Foxconn, Intel Corp and Ford Motor Co to invest inland instead of moving their production to countries such as Vietnam and Bangladesh as wages rise in China's coastal areas.
In addition to helping in the recruitment of workers, authorities are trying to attract companies by offering reduced tax rates and preferential access to land.
"In the past 30 years, China created what might be the world's greatest miracle by attracting global capital to its coastal cities," Xue said. "The new story for the next few decades will be the inland story."
Zhengzhou's economy may grow 13 percent this year and maintain a double-digit pace of percentage growth for the "next few years," Xue said. The national economy may grow 9.2 percent this year and 8.5 percent in 2012, a prediction based on responses made by 15 economists surveyed by Bloomberg.
Foxconn, which began exporting goods from its Zhengzhou factory in August, has contributed much to the city's growth, Xue said. The value of Zhengzhou's exports and imports combined will exceed $15 billion this year, triple what it was in 2010, he said.
Foreign direct investment in the city, which has a population of more than 8 million, has grown 43 percent in the first 11 months of the year, Xue said. In the whole country, foreign investment gained 13 percent during the same period.
To help Foxconn, Nissan Motor Co's local vehicle venture and other companies find workers, Xue said, the Zhengzhou government has encouraged some of the more than 21 million people from Henan working in other parts of China to return to the province.
The government has also organized students from 40 universities and more than 100 technical-training high schools in Henan to do internships at plants in the city, he said.
Intel and Ford
Edmund Ding, a spokesman for Hon Hai Precision Industry Co, the Taipei-based flagship of Foxconn, didn't answer several calls to his mobile phones on Friday.
Intel announced plans in February 2009 to close down its assembly and test operations in Shanghai and move the work to the western city of Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province. In September of this year, Alan Mulally, CEO of Ford, broke ground on an engine transmission plant in the western municipality of Chongqing.
This past year, the average annual wage that private companies paid to urban manufacturing workers in coastal Guangdong province was 21,644 yuan, compared with 16,391 yuan in Hunan and 15,495 yuan in Henan, according to government data.
"Nobody was available to meet us three to five years ago when we wanted to persuade them to do business here," Xue said. "But now, all kinds of foreign and domestic companies visit us every week."
To make Zhengzhou even more attractive, Xue said the city also wants to spend as much as 30 billion yuan in the next decade to expand its airport to accommodate more cargo transport.
The National Development and Reform Commission, China's top economic planner, and the nation's aviation regulator have already approved plans to start building a second runway at Zhengzhou's airport next month, he said.
Local authorities want five runways as part of a 30-year blueprint for developing the city, Xue said.
The local government hasn't taken on much debt to make these investments, Xue said.
Zhengzhou plans to merge about 10 companies the city set up to finance products into three larger entities, each having assets valued in the tens of billions of yuan, he said.
These three companies will concentrate on investing in selected industries, infrastructure projects and property development, he said, without giving more details.
Xue said the city government wants to make Zhengzhou an industrial base, a transportation hub and a large metropolis. "That's our vision," he said.
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