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Huawei carried out on-site audits of 101 suppliers last year.

Huawei learns from Apple's experience


Huawei Technologies, the mainland's largest maker of telecommunications equipment, said Apple's experience in China shows the importance of supply chain management.

"We can learn from the issues that Apple has faced in China," said Zhang Hao, a director of corporate sustainability at Huawei. "Supplier management is a very key part of our brand management. We will never let supplier issues tarnish our brand."

Apple chief executive Tim Cook joined the Washington-based Fair Labor Association last year following the suicides of at least 10 workers at Foxconn Technology Group, the assembler of iPhones and iPads.

Foxconn had resolved 98 per cent of the 360 issues raised by the group, yet faced a "challenging" task to meet a July deadline for cutting work hours to legal limits, the association said.

Foxconn cut work hours to a maximum of 60 per week, making "significant progress" in meeting Apple's standards, the association said. It committed to reaching China's legal limit of 40 hours a week plus an average of nine hours of overtime by July.

"Violation of overtime limits is a common problem with suppliers in China," Zhang said, declining to provide details on how Huawei suppliers fare in complying with the rules.

Huawei carried out on-site audits of 101 suppliers last year, 16 per cent more than in 2011, the company said in its sustainability report released yesterday.

One electronics manufacturer had "multiple issues" including blocked safety exits, insufficient firefighting equipment and excessive overtime, the report said. The supplier was not allowed to enter into contracts with Huawei until those issues were addressed.

Zhang declined to say how many suppliers had been disqualified by Huawei's audits.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Huawei learns from Apple's experience