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Does Fairphone have a stance on the Hong Kong protests?

Hello everyone. I’m looking into moving on from my iPhone and find myself rather disgusted by the actions Apple, as well as several other high profile manufacturers, have taken in regards to China and the Hong Kong protests. Has Fairphone made their stance on these topics clear?

Thank you.

I am also very interested in this matter.
I would like to stop buying products from China all together, but in the phone industry it is AFAIK impossible. But I’ve been looking towards FP some time now, and a will to move production away from China (Since the country is absolutely going in the wrong direction) will make me decide to buy a FP3 ASAP.

I don’t think FP will move production away from China unless they are forced to (which they might be if they would take a public stance on this issue). In China, the labor conditions are especially bad and there are a lot of other companies there, so that is the perfect place where they can make a big difference and inspire others to do so too.

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Not having a stance, is having a stance as well. But it isn’t the same as e.g. Blizzard’s stance.

Good question, but you should ask Fairphone and not a user community forum.

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Asking in public forums might prove to be much more resourceful. It just matter how much attention a topic gets.
But for sake of things I did what you suggested and this was their response:

” Thank you for your message. Fairphone is always looking for the best possible production options whilst providing good value to our customers.”

Absolutely fantastic

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I get and understand this question.
Still, as @paulakreuzer already posted, FP is in a way already making a stance by producing in China. The chinese policy has not exactly changed over the last months/years. Trying to make a difference regarding working conditions in this kind of environment, as Fairphone is doing, is a big statement.
Countering this by a public statement regarding Hong Kong, might in fact result in the end of Fairphone production. Just take the reaction to the tweet of a high-ranking offical of the NBA.

Fairphone is none of the global players, they are already challenged to find a manufacturer at all, that is willing to cooperate and that is sharing the ethics of Fairphone at least to a relevant degree. Having to switch the manufacturer now, when the Fairphone 3 has just entered the market, would - in my opinion - spell disaster.

Once more I would like to ask, not to expect too much at all the same time from a small company like Fairphone.

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If China goes too far with their “we feel insulted” narrative, and act on it as well, other countries might become more interesting as a source of cheap labor. We’ve already had a wave of outsourcing helpdesk(s) to India.

I think your reasoning is understandable but also strange, so you’re saying FP should not take a stance for democracy because China could create problems for their production? Then that is absolutely a reason for moving production.
Should we all sit in China’s lap because we want cheap electronics?
I want to do business with sane companies in sane countries.

I know FP is a small company, and I believe and want to support their vision of a fair phone. But working conditions will do nothing against dictatorship. Right now China is becoming Nazi-Germany and its important for me to not support that.

Further to @paulakreuzer’s answer, there’s info about why Fairphone sources minerals from certain countries that others shy away from because of the Dodd-Frank act. The reasons for producing in China is probably along similar lines - where are the required expertise/factories/resources to be found and where can they show how a difference can be made.
HK has become an issue after production started. Shifting production, if at all possible without having to design a new phone, would take the best part of a year (if I remember the stories about the last time they changed production partner correctly), if not longer.

I just disagree insofar, that there is something new happening in China.
Ask the Tibetans. China is a dictatorship since Mao. If there was a phase, when they were a democracy, I don’t know and apologize (history is not my piece of cake to be honest).
It is just, that Hong Kong has made it more visible to the world and that there is a democratic mass-movement inside China now.
This makes it less easy to ignore what’s going on in China.

In my opinion us customers could make a change by chosing products not made in China or PRC, when there are other option. Just recently I needed a battery and in fact found just one in the shop, that was made in Japan. Obviously, it was the most expensive one; still I bought this one.

And this is about big companies, that really have a choice where to produce their stuff. Fairphone in my opinion is less lucky in this regard.

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Taiwan/ROC is democratic

Also, “democracy” is a relative term. See

If you follow

Taiwan is just behind Belgium/France on place #32. United States is on spot #25, Japan on spot #22. Germany on #13, Switzerland on #10, and 4 Nordic countries dominate top 5, with Finland on #8. Yet, these Nordic countries have the name “socialist democracy”.

(I don’t wanna pull a Godwin but US being below the Axis of WWII strikes me as ironic.)

One can give valid reasons for boycotting any country in the world, including Japan and USA.

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That’s why I mentioned Chine / PRC. Though I have to admit, that I did so afterwards, making my statement a bit unspecific.

True, but I did not want to open up that kind of discussion. Therefore I focused on the given topic. And Japan is at least not a dictatorship.

Edit:
Thx for the interesting links. China is #130 on this list, with North Korea holding the red lantern on #167 (Russia ranks #144).

Fairphone decided to do the subversion from within, by cooperating with(in) China. The supply lines did show multiple sources though. Thing is, if you’re invested in China you can’t afford to insult them. If you operate in China, you need to do so in local company. I think Russia does same.

The minimum wage of Shenzhen is 2200 RMB/month. Which is ~312 USD/month. One of the highest in whole China. It is slightly less than 1 USD/hour.

India is cheaper, and higher on the democracy index (#41). It isn’t far off from countries such as Taiwan and USA.

I noticed some countries even cheaper than China, such as Vietnam and Bangladesh. Bangladesh being more of a democracy than Vietnam/China. DRC (Congo) is terrible on both lists.

I would like to know, if they investigated possibilities to produce the phone in other countries besides China and Europe.
While there are in fact smartphones produced in India, I still have the impression that China is the center of this industry.

Sure, it is just that with the boycott Huawei hype, sure, they listen to Chinese overlords. We tend to forget that American companies listen to American overlords. The democracy index only underlines that USA is less democratic than North- and West-Europe. Nokia doesn’t exist anymore (HMD is just a Chinese company). Jolla, not sure where they assemble.

How are former Eastern German wages? Would Eastern Europe be an option? I noticed my former Ziggo (Liberty Global) mediabox assembled in Slovenia or Slovakia (I forgot).

I forgot tomention the target country needs independent, local tech supplies. Wanting to assemble in Europe is one thing. Having whole production in Europe, including assembly machines?

If we want to get rid of being dependent on whoever corporations ultimately have to serve (their government) we must produce whole chain local…

And I believe that is partly Trump’s point, with Mac Pro being produced and assembled in USA (and eventually the argument becomes xenophobic nationalism). Another company who do this is Raptor Engineering. Though I’m not sure all production sources are local. Either way, what’s in it for Europeans? The way I see it, it is just trading one enemy for a slightly more friendly fiend.

According to the wikipedia article, at least the Jolla tablet was produced in China:

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The name Socialist democracy hasn’t anything to do with the democracy level in the nordic countries. (I live in Sweden). To keep it very short: the name implies that its focused on the people, but it does not want to rule by default - hence democracy. Socialist democracy (Or social democrats - 28% support - as the party is called) has its long list of problems, but its a very civil form of state.

I feel you guys miss a lot of what the HK events is, and what China is doing.

Hong Kong sort of a country by itself (yeah its complicated) that has democracy (or so they thought), there is absolutely no democratic “mass-movement” in main land China, quite the contrary. (I’ve been to China as well, if that give any credit). China is getting rid of dissidents, putting “terrorists” in camps and harvesting their organs, setting up mass surveillance systems. I can’t argue its “something new” but its something that is newly reported.

In HK the police has killed several of the movements “leaders” and arrested, terrorized and beaten many other peaceful protesters

This is a bit OT, but what do you think we do over here? I work at a company that would be totally capable of producing FP’s (But would never do it, because its not our core business), sure it would probably become a bit more expensive. (I’m intrigued to calculate how much more)

That is not true, in a democratic, transparent and free speech environment companies can ultimately serve their customers and ignore borders.

Well, yeah, it is complicated. Hong Kong has an autonomic status in China, but when the UK gave Hong Kong back to China, the end goal has always been to blend the two together in the long-term.

I’m talking about the entire supply chain, apart from minerals, being within EU. The only European competitor I know to Qcom is NXP with i.MX, and that one is a whole lot slower. The labour cost in EU is just too high to compete with Asia.

No, they cannot, because in the end a gag order won’t allow them to be transparent. Regardless of if its Yahoo, Google, Microsoft, or Lavabit.

You phrased it “assembly-sure” “production/machines-no” and I disputed that. Having the whole supply chain (except some minerals, but there is an agenda) within free democratic countries should be viable (expensive yes, that isn’t the point)

It’s the government that should be transparent. Military and other safety related issues should be transparent to the elected officials.

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