World's Biggest Contract Electronics Maker Hiring in China

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After months of layoffs amid fears of a deep global recession, Hon Hai Precision Industry has started re-hiring employees at factories in China.

Demand for IT products has not been as bad as feared, the chairman of the company said Wednesday at a news conference in Tucheng, Taiwan.

"In the short term, one or two months, it's not as bad as we've been looking for," said Terry Gou, chairman of Hon Hai. But he warned not to take too rosy a view on the global economic situation because this will be "a very tough year."

His company, which assembles iPhones for Apple, PlayStation 3s for Sony and a host of other well known products, is increasing its head count in China by 5 percent.

A spokesman for the company declined to immediately say how many people that might be, but Hon Hai is China's largest exporter and a major employer. Estimates on how many workers the company employs in China range from 550,000 to 680,000 people.

Gou said one key to any global recovery will be continued openness in global markets.

"We're keeping a close eye on trade protectionism," he said, adding that if global markets remain open, then the economy will bottom faster.

Demand for technology products around the world has plummeted in the face of a global recession.

PC demand turned negative for the first time in six years during the fourth quarter of last year, according to IDC. Shipments dropped 0.4 percent year-on-year in the fourth quarter. Shipments of desktops, laptops and servers had averaged growth of 15 percent for the previous five years, the market researcher said.

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