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May 28, 2017

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Banning Huawei's products may benefit national security

Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Chairman Terry Gou has been busy making controversial public statements lately. Even for the outspoken tycoon, the recent outburst of comments on hot-button issues such as wage stagnation, the Sunflower student-led movement and the government's block of his plan to use Chinese equipment in his 4G base stations is uncommon.

The mass media followed developments surrounding the unnamed employee who criticized Gou's vow to help raise Taiwan's living wage as hypocrisy with similar fervor to fans hooked on a melodrama.

Days after Gou said he would acquire companies that offer monthly wages lower than NT$22,000 and raise salaries, an employee working for Innolux Corp. known by her Internet name Leung Xiao-hua (梁小花), said in an online comment that she earns less than NT$22,000 in the Hon Hai-affiliated company. She urged Gou to practice what he preaches and raise the salaries of those currently on his payroll first.

Gou and his company acted quickly in response to the comment. First, Gou announced that the Hon Hai Group will raise the salary of workers at three of its subsidiaries to the same levels as the parent company, where starting wages for college-educated engineers and administrative staff is at least NT$36,000 (NT$26,000 for production operators, who do not require a college degree).

On the other hand, Innolux obtained not only the identity of the online whistle-blower, but also a recording of what it claims to be her formal apology. Leung, who Innolux didn't name but revealed as a mother in her early thirties working in a Tainan factory, said in the recording that she didn't notice that Gou was referring to college graduates when he made his acquire-and-wage-hike plan.

Innolux's hands-on approach in tackling the Leung incident courted controversy of its own as it raises concerns over a conglomerate worth billions mobilizing against a young mother. Anticipating such concern, Innolux Chairman Tuan Hsing-chien (段行建) vowed not to penalize Leung for her actions.

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