Xinjiang Hoshine Silicon Industry Co., Ltd
Silicon products, plastics, copper, polysilicon
Xinjiang Hoshine Silicon Industry Co., Ltd (新疆西部合盛硅业有限公司) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Zhejiang’s Hoshine Silicon Industry Co. Xinjiang Hoshine is the world’s largest industrial silicon producer. Xinjiang Western Hoshine operates from Shihezi, Xinjiang. The company established its Xinjiang Eastern Hoshine Co. in Pichan (Chinese: Shanshan) outside of Turpan in 2016. There, Hoshine built the “Silicon-based New Material Circular Economy Industrial Park of Hoshine Silicon Industry” as its mining and manufacturing base within the Shanshan Stone Industrial Park. According to a description of the park, “experts” announced “China’s stone material depends on Xinjiang, and Xinjiang stone material depends on Shanshan.”
In December 2021, after being sanctioned by the United States government for its use of forced labor, Hoshine announced that it was further expanding its manufacturing in the Uyghur Region to include polysilicon manufacturing, with the expectation that it would be used not only for the company’s concomitant solar module manufacturing expansion but also for computer semi-conductors. State media indicated that, with this expansion, Hoshine “will become a veritable overlord of silicon-based materials."
The drastic expansion of US-sanctioned Hoshine Silicon in the Uyghur Region has also implicated the automotive sector. The company and its subsidiaries produce materials relevant to tires, wiring and electronics, aluminum, batteries, and a variety of silicon applications.
The XUAR government has rolled out an array of tax incentives to encourage this expansion. Hoshine subsidiary Xinjiang Yiri Copper Foil Technology Co. (新疆亿日铜箔科技股份有限公司) is developing electrolytic copper foils in the Xinjiang Shanshan Stone Industrial Park, with a production capacity of 20,000 tons per year, for application in laminates, printed circuit boards, and lithium-ion batteries. The company benefitted from an 82 million yuan tax rebate, as one of the “six taxes and two fees reduction and exemption policy.” Yiri also enjoyed rebates on the resource tax, urban maintenance tax, construction tax, real estate and land use tax, stamp tax, and cultivated land occupation tax, as well as fee waivers for education surcharges. Hoshine may intend to process the copper itself, through Xinjiang Hoshine Innovative Materials Co., Ltd. (新疆合盛创新材料有限公司). It received EIA approval for the project with an annual output of 5,000 tons of copper-based rare earth composite powder materials (Bashi Huan Shen  No. 20). Hoshine is also moving into northern Urumchi, along with TBEA and Shenhuo. In 2019, it established an aluminum alloy production line, slated for future expansion designated for the automotive sector among others. The silicon carbide/aluminum composite ingots also have military applications. The project location, in the northern industrial district of Shihezi, is directly adjacent to the Tianshan Aluminum Smelter.
There is evidence that Hoshine has actively recruited and employed “transferred surplus labor” from rural villages around Turpan to its Shanshan facility. The company’s labor recruitment process promises “transformation of surplus rural labor into industrial workers and urban dwellers, making them become fresh combat troops for industrialization, urbanization, and agricultural modernization.” A Hoshine recruitment fair in 2017 included a visit to the County National Unity Education Hall nearby, where the recruits “unanimously agreed that Xinjiang has always been an inalienable part of the motherland, and that people of all ethnicities have staunchly resisted the incursions of foreigners for over one hundred years.” Political indoctrination is an integral aspect of the ideological transformation imposed on rural farmers who are subject to labor transfer.
Xinjiang Hoshine relies on government programs that place rural laborers deemed to be “surplus” in factory work. In its 2019-2021 vocational skills implementation plan, the Turpan government explicitly names Hoshine as a “key enterprise” in the “vocational skills training platform.” One effort early in Hoshine’s development in the Uyghur Region suggests the potential scale of that collaboration. In 2017, the Turpan Bureau of Human Resources assured the media that the agency had adjusted its training of 9,800 surplus rural laborers to provide them with skills required by Hoshine and would be able to “fully meet [Hoshine’s] employment needs” for 5,000 trained laborers. Hoshine further received subsidies from the XPCC to provide its own surplus labor vocational skills training, as a part of an extensive Turpan government multi-agency effort to employ indigenous workers in labor-intensive industries. Guidance from the Turpan government referred to in the Xinjiang Hoshine annual report in relation to labor transfer subsidies indicates that the payments are meant to provide vocational training for “rural surplus laborers” who will be “transferred” to companies in need of workers.
State-sponsored recruitment efforts on Xinjiang Hoshine’s behalf depend on coercive strategies that suggest non-voluntary labor. For instance, one media report depicts a married couple from rural Dikan Township who were targeted for “poverty alleviation.” They were provided a government-determined “income-increasing package,” which began with the assignment of a cadre who instructed them in Chinese language skills “to pave the way for them to leave their hometown to work.” The regional work team then assigned the couple to vocational skills training to learn to be welders in the farming off-season. The couple followed the directives of the cadre, while the regional work team still provided “encouragement and help” for them to do “pre-employment training for the surplus rural labor force,” after which they were transferred to work at Xinjiang Hoshine. Though the couple owned seven acres of grape fields that would need tending, the government “relieved the two of their worries,” by transferring their land use rights (流转) to the state. The couple was transferred to Xinjiang Hoshine, more than 50 kilometers away from home, to work as a mechanic and a product inspector in the Pichan (Ch: Shanshan) County Hoshine Silicon Industry factory, leaving behind their children and ill parents. Though the report indicates that the couple have a bright and spacious house in their village, the photos accompanying the story suggest that the couple now lives in a bunk house with other employees at Xinjiang Hoshine and only rarely return home.
Hoshine’s “surplus labor” recruitment program explicitly strives to “change the employment concept of residents” and for the “transformation of the poor labor force’s thinking” to “strengthen the endogenous motivation of poverty alleviation.” This implies that their inherent beliefs are opposed to poverty alleviation and that they are in need of correction that labor can provide. Hoshine’s recruitment practices thus present labor transfers as a necessary ideological disciplining process.
In 2020, Hoshine’s parent company won an award as a “social support and caring enterprise,” for its efforts to “fight against poverty, enable local people to increase employment and income, and promote local industrial upgrading” in Pichan County, Xinjiang.
Open worker recruitment advertisements from Hoshine suggest other discriminatory hiring practices. “Minority” workers must be able to speak Chinese and have “no bad political records.” Manual laborers are paid a piece rate of CNY 42 per ton to manually crush silicon, whereas other jobs get paid a salary.