Foxconn plans to replace some workers with robots

The age of the robots is getting closer for the workers at Foxconn, the Taiwan-based company that has been making electronic products for a number of major Western companies like Apple, HP and others. The state run web site Xinhua reports that Foxconn plans to bring in as many as 1 million robots into its factories in the next three years. According to the article the robots will be "simple and routine work such as spraying, welding and assembling."

The report says that currently Foxconn employs just 10,000 robots but will increase that amount to 300,000 by 2012. The move to use more robots is designed to cut labor costs. There's no word on how many workers might lose their jobs as a result of this new robot invasion. Foxconn currently has 1.2 million employees, most of which are based in China.

Foxconn has been making a number of products including Apple's best selling iPad product. However the company has had its share of tragedies and issues. In 2010 there were a large number of suicides of Foxconn employees that occurred on the factory grounds. The situation got so bad that Foxconn got its employees to sign anti-suicide contracts earlier this year. However in May of this year even more tragedies occurred as an explosion at one of Foxconn's plants killed three employees and injured 15 others. Finally the huge sales success of the iPad has apparently caused Apple to hire a second company to help Foxconn in the making of future versions of the tablet device, if not replace Foxconn entirely.

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20 Comments

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I am going to miss my products made by Chinese slaves.

prob did not like the thought of giving staff less then $3 a hour

DrakeN2k said,
I am going to miss my products made by Chinese slaves.


Don't worry, there's plenty of third-world countries left where labour's even cheaper and manufacturing jobs can be moved to.

Couldn't apple spend a little of their nest egg to move production in house? I'd buy an apple if they did something good for a change... i just don't see the good in replacing a lot of jobs with robots so people can have their over priced gadgets....

spudtrooper said,
Couldn't apple spend a little of their nest egg to move production in house? I'd buy an apple if they did something good for a change... i just don't see the good in replacing a lot of jobs with robots so people can have their over priced gadgets....

Would you like higher prices?!

djdanster said,

Would you like higher prices?!

Prices aren't high because of the components. They're high because Apple can get away with it.
But in reply to the original comment, I'd love to see Apple products being made in the U.S.

djdanster said,

Would you like higher prices?!

Appl has a 50% margin, if not more. Robots in the US of A aren't any more expensive than Robots in China but at least it would be US jobs and technology building those robots. so higher prices can suck it and wouldn't have to happen.

£5 says we hear about the robots commiting suicide shortly after installation.

Maybe Foxconn should sort out the way they treat their employees and their health and safety standards

Although it my reduce the deaths, a lot of people will be out of work because of this.
It's hard to make it a win-win situation.

JTaylor69 said,
Although it my reduce the deaths, a lot of people will be out of work because of this.
It's hard to make it a win-win situation.

That's progress though. What about all the people who now will have work making and maintaining the robots?

JTaylor69 said,
Although it my reduce the deaths, a lot of people will be out of work because of this.
It's hard to make it a win-win situation.

Replacing manufacturing jobs with robots has been going on for decades.