Taiwan's Foxconn reviews buying in China after bribe claims

TAIPEI (AFP) - Taiwan technology giant Foxconn said on Wednesday it was investigating and reviewing its acquisition procedures in China after allegations that some of its managers had solicited bribes from suppliers.

It was the latest problem to hit the company, which has come under the spotlight after suicides, labour unrest and the use of underage interns at its Chinese plants in recent years.

Foxconn, which assembles products for Apple, Sony and Nokia, said it was probing the bribery allegations.

"The company will not only thoroughly investigate the personnel implicated in the case... but also review countermeasures to amend acquisition procedures and the integrity of managers and stop similar incidents from happening again," it said in a statement.

Foxconn added that its operations in China had not been affected by the case and declined to go into detail about the case pending an ongoing investigation by the Chinese judicial authorities.

The comments came after Taiwan-based Next weekly magazine reported in its latest edition on Wednesday that a Foxconn manager had been detained by police in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen over bribery allegations.

The Taiwanese manager allegedly solicited and accepted bribes from suppliers in exchange for buying their machines and equipment for the company, it said.

This appeared not to be an isolated case, the report said, citing unnamed sources, adding that Foxconn alerted the Chinese authorities to the situation after it got a tip-off a few months ago.

The news is the latest in a string of problems to beset Foxconn, which has frequently been targeted over its labour practices following a spate of suicides that activists blamed on tough working conditions, prompting calls for better treatment of staff.

In October last year, Foxconn admitted employing children as young as 14 on assembly lines at a plant in China.

Foxconn, the world's largest maker of computer components, employs about one million workers in China, roughly half of them based in its main facility in Shenzhen.

Shenzhen police were not immediately available for comment.

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