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March 30, 2012

Apple and Foxconn maximum 76 hour work weeks and one billion mobile phones

1. WSJ - Apple and Foxconn have agreed to reducing work hours to a maximum of 40 hours a week and limiting overtime to a maximum of 36 hours a week—the legal maximum in China—by July 2013. Currently works hours aren't strictly enforced at the local level, and up to 100 hours a week is often tolerated by authorities. Chinese workers put in the time willingly, in order to earn more money.

The companies also will explore benefits such as unemployment insurance with private providers and government agencies. The move could further encourage changes throughout the rest of the manufacturing sector, starting with other high-tech companies.

Nationally, average 2010 private sector manufacturing wages totaled 20,090 yuan (or $3,190 at current rates), up 16.4% from the year before.

2. China said Friday it had broken the barrier of one billion mobile phone accounts at the end of February, as more people in the world's most populous country ditch fixed phone.

* The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said this was up from 900.4 million in April last year.
* fixed line subscriptions fell by 828,000 during that period to reach 284.3 million
* 144 million used 3G (double April 2011)




3. Bloomberg - Iran and its leading oil buyers, China and India, are finding ways to skirt U.S. and European Union financial sanctions on the Islamic republic by agreeing to trade oil for local currencies and goods including wheat, soybean meal and consumer products.
Sanctions are denying the Islamic Republic hard currency to prop up the plummeting value of the rial and to fund nuclear and missile programs. Iran already is starved for dollars and euros to support the rial, and barter deals will force it to spend billions of dollars of oil revenue on goods.

“Iran cannot stabilize the value of its currency with such unorthodox payment methods, and that is why its economy is collapsing,” Katzman, an Iran sanctions specialist, said in an interview. “Iran is essentially on a junk-for-oil program.”

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