Riot Damage to Wistron's Indian Plant may reach $US7.1 Million as investigators seek answers as to why non-Wistron rioters were involved
There was a report last month about sabotage at the Wistron plant in India but the information was too brief to report on. Yet a new report today from Bloomberg points to a tweet from Taiwan's Global Times stating the following: "This is a potential risk when manufacturers consider moving their production lines out of #China where they have most stable labor market supporting the nation to become the largest manufacturing hub." That almost sounds like a veiled threat to other Taiwanese plants considering a move out of China for India.
This is a potential risk when manufacturers consider moving their production lines out of #China where they have most stable labor market supporting the nation to become the largest manufacturing hub. Does Terry Gou from #Foxconn, regret about moving those #iPhone lines to #India https://t.co/I4xOCmXh32— Qingqing_Chen (@qingqingparis) December 13, 2020
Bloomberg reports today that hundreds of workers entered Wistron Corp.’s facility in the southern city of Kolar over the weekend, damaging the property and looting thousands of iPhones and laptops, according to local media. More than 150 people were arrested, the Times of India reported.
The local superintendent of police said on record that there were so many people being arrested that they overwhelmed Kolar’s jail and had to send some elsewhere."
Wistron estimated damages at as much as NT$200 million (US$7.1 million) and said it’s doing its best to resume operations at the factory.
The Taiwan-based company has said the protesters are not its own workers, suggesting they may have been hired by employment agencies, though it’s not clear who is responsible for paying them.
Analysts Howard Kao and Sharon Shih at Morgan Stanley wrote in a recent research note that "There should be limited fundamental impact in 2020. However, we plan to monitor the situation closely – key factors will be the length of the production halt, possible changes in Wistron’s relationship with Apple after this incident, and the progress of Wistron’s Phase II capacity expansion."
The clash is part of a broader geopolitical challenge for Apple, the most valuable company in the world with political tensions between China and the U.S. having raised the risks and costs of dependence on a single production base. For more on this read the full Bloomberg report.
The key to understanding the full scope of this incident is to understand who paid the protesters to riot, considering that Wistron is adamant that the rioters weren't Wistron employees. Are out of country parties behind the riots? Stay tuned, as there may be more to this story than meets the eye at present.