Foxconn Electronics, the world's largest contract maker of computer components, electronics and other devices, said that it would replace workers with one million of robots in three years time in order to cut costs and improve efficiency. At least initially, robots will perform simple operations.
It is not a secret that the labor expenses in China are gradually rising, which means that it becomes less efficient to manufacture in the country from costs point of view. Some believe that in several years from now manufacturing costs in China will be similar to manufacturing costs in well developed countries. As a result, it is very logical for companies like Foxconn to use more equipment at their factoriess and replace workers with machines.
The robots will be used to do simple and routine work such as spraying, welding and assembling which are now mainly conducted by workers, said Terry Gou, the president and chairman of Foxconn at a workers' event, reports Xinhua news-agency.
At present Foxconn already uses ten thousand robots. The company intends to inctrease the number to 300 thousand in 2012 and one million in the next three years, the head of the company is reported to have said.
Foxconn currently employs 1.2 million people, with about 1 million of them based on the Chinese mainland. It is unclear whether the world's largest contract maker of electronics plans to reduce the workforce as the amount of robots increases. Given the fact that demand from customers like Apple, Sony and others rises, Foxconn has to boost its manufacturing capacities, which means that it may relocate its personnel from one task to another.