Taiwanese smart phone manufacturer HTC has had an extremely successful year, on the back of a strong product line. Increased sales at the company have nearly tripled the share price and more than quadrupled the wealth of husband and wife top team Cher Wang and Wenchi Chen in the last year alone. Wang and Chen are now worth a very tidy $8.8bn, and are sitting right at the top of this week’s Forbes Taiwan Rich List.
Which makes it all the harder to work out why exactly they don’t seem to be taking any action over worker abuses at their outsourced touchscreen supplier Young Fast Optoelectronics, where there are allegations of union busting, forced overtime for low pay, child labour and poor safety.
HTC do have decent requirements from their suppliers, but they just don’t seem to take any kind of action when these are flouted. Part of the reasons must be the forcing down of costs that’s so common in electronics supply chains, but it now seems like there is enough slack in the company’s coffers (several billions of it) to pay outsourced workers a little more and let the company live up to their own ideals as an ethical outfit.