Invisible Giants Leaders' Quest

How Richard Wong and Li Tao established the first Chinese government‐backed partnership between a corporate and an NGO


“Thanks to the work of Leaders’ Quest in China and to its rich and accessible network, I was introduced to an organisation that has enabled us to turn a new page in China’s social work history.”
Richard Wong, Vice President, Global Corporate Social Responsibility and Employee Relations, Flextronics

“It has really allowed us to develop our organisation strategically and improve our professional capacity to serve our target audience. We are truly grateful to Leaders’ Quest, without whom we would probably never have made this connection.”
Li Tao, Founder and Chief Coordinator, CCCF

Background

More than 130 million people have left their rural communities in search of work and a better life in China’s burgeoning urban centres. A migrant worker’s existence is lonely and harsh. Many are forced to leave their families and work under exploitative conditions, often denied access to adequate healthcare and education.

Flextronics, one of China’s largest electronics manufacturers, employs more than 90,000 migrant workers and they make up almost 90% of its workforce. Richard Wong, Vice President of Flextronics with responsibility for global CSR and employee relations, decided to address the plight of his workers. To help him find a solution, Leaders’ Quest introduced him to Li Tao, founder of CCCF, a local NGO providing advocacy and support services for China’s itinerant workforce.

Richard Wong and Li Tao are longstanding members of the Leaders’ Quest community. Richard sits on the Leaders’ Quest advisory board and has joined us on Quests in China and Kenya, while Flextronics has hosted several of our China Quests. Over the last few years he has generously given his time to train some of the grassroots leaders being supported through our Leaders’ Quest Fellowship programme. Li Tao has also hosted numerous Quest groups in China and CCCF has helped to identify a number of people who have gone on to become Leaders’ Quest Fellows.

Impact at a glance

Richard and Li Tao committed to working together to address some of the issues faced by migrant workers. They formed China’s first government‐recognised partnership between a private company and an NGO, and have since worked to improve the lives of thousands of itinerant workers and their families through a variety of different initiatives.

  • Flextronics provided seed capital to help CCCF set up the Zhuhai Social Work and Education Development Centre for Facilitators in Zhuhai, Guangdong Province, one of the major economic hubs of south China and home to some 30 million migrant workers.
  • The centre provides free counselling, advice on social welfare issues, legal aid and training, as well as educational and recreational programmes for children.
  • It also trains volunteers and organises activities to promote the integration of migrants into the local community.

Improving human rights compliance

  • As a core member of the Global Business Initiative on Human Rights, Flextronics hosted a conference with major customers, suppliers and government officials, to explore how electronics companies operating in China can improve human rights compliance throughout the supply chain and address the needs of migrant workers.

A new model for cross‐sector engagement

  • The partnership established a new ‘tripartite’ social partnership model in China. Flextronics has since formed a similar collaboration with a local NGO located near its plant in Chennai, India, to open a women’s health centre. The company is exploring a partnership with a similar NGO in Penang, Malaysia.
  • Since working with Flextronics, CCCF has continued to pioneer new partnership models by working with a wide range of stakeholders from business, government and community.
  • CCCF has extended the reach of its work into China’s Pearl River Delta Zone.

Raising awareness of the challenges faced by migrant workers

  • Flextronics and CCCF used a nationally‐touring photo exhibition and performance event to generate significant media coverage of the difficulties faced by migrant workers, and their positive contribution to growth and prosperity in China.