Apple’s Chinese Supply Chain Experience Could Serve as Example, Says Huawei

After performing its own on-site audits among its 101 suppliers, Huawei director of corporate sustainability Zhang Hao admitted the importance of supply chain management, reports Bloomberg. His thoughts highlight once again Apple’s effort at transparency and good management of its supply chain.


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

Apple has faced criticism over some links of its supply chain: at least ten workers have died at Foxconn’s Chinese factory where iDevices are assembled. After Apple joined the Fair Labor Association it conducted an in-depth analysis of its Chinese supply chain links, and especially Foxconn. Independent auditors were used to help map out the issues it needs to address and elaborated an action plan.

The results were visible after six months, with 98% of the issues being resolved by the time of the second audit. One issue still remains: despite visible progress, legal limits on work hours need to be addressed by the time of the third audit.

“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.

Zhang believes companies should learn from Apple’s experience. Their own audit identified multiple issues, leading to supplier disqualifications.