Friday, September 10, 2010
The Man Who Makes Your iPhone
The colossus that Gou (pronounced "Gwo") runs today started with a $7,500 loan from his mother. His first world headquarters was a shed he rented in 1974 in a gritty Taipei suburb called Tucheng, which means Dirt City in Mandarin. Gou, then 23, had done three years of vocational training and served in the military. He then worked for two years as a shipping clerk, where he got a firsthand view of Taiwan's booming export economy and figured he ought to stop pushing paper and get into the game. With the cash from his mother, he bought a couple of plastic molding machines and started making channel-changing knobs for black-and-white televisions. His first customer was Chicago-based Admiral TV, and he soon got deals to supply RCA, Zenith, and Philips.
Bloomberg Businessweek recently published a piece about the rise of Foxconn and it's founder, Terry Gou. The article pulls readers in by addressing the company's eleven recent suicides, but it also provides a detailed account of how Gou's 900,000+ employee empire came into existance. It's easy for us to buy a product and not think about the lengths it took to get here. We're more concerned (myself included) with the next generation gadget rather than who assembled it. This is your chance to get an idea of what it takes to make something like the fourth generation iPhone possible. You can read the full article on their website here.