The labour conflicts of last summer in South China made big news in Chinese and international media. As workers in supplier companies for Honda, Toyota and other auto multinationals downed tools, business media such as the British ‘Economist’ expressed fear over the ‘rising power of workers in China’. At the same time, a tragic series of suicides at Foxconn – the world’s largest contract manufacturer of computers, iPods, and other mobile electronics gear – exposed the inhumane nature of low-wage mass production for global brands such as Apple, HP or Nokia. Both events had a major impact among trade unions, labour activists, and the general public in China- perhaps a watershed in the future development of labour relations in the country. This article provides an analysis of the events last summer and its aftermath, including discussions on reform of labour policies and recent wage negotiations in Guangdong.