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Foxconn to replace some workers with a million robots

updated 12:25 pm EDT, Sun July 31, 2011

Foxconn plans 1m robots in three years

Foxconn will act on promises and replace some of its assembly line workers with robots, founder Terry Gou said at a company party Friday night. The company will move from 10,000 robots this year to 300,000 in 2012 and one million within three years. Many of these will be used to handle simple, repetitive tasks that are still being handled by human workers, such as certain kinds of assembly, spraying, and welding, the Xinhua News Agency understood.

The step will likely lead to job cuts at Foxconn but will likely both save the company money and, more vitally, reduce the mounting problems with labor conditions. Workers have seen increased base pay but are known to still regularly work overtime and get little discretionary income.

Although the crises have calmed down in more recent months, Foxconn is still dealing with suicides from those who crack under the stress. The company took to stopping pay to suicide victims' families to prevent migrants and others from seeing their deaths as a way of delivering several years' worth of pay to their often impoverished parents in rural areas.

Much of the attention placed on Foxconn has come from its own scale as the largest contract manufacturer in the world. Although other companies work in the area and sometimes have similar working conditions, its size has drawn business from not just Apple but Nokia, Sony, and numerous smaller clients.

by MacNN Staff



  1. macmedia1

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Ahh - automation

    China will finally experience what we Americans have been struggling with since the 1980's. Robots will replace human workers. It's going to be a matter of time before China gets a taste of what the rest of the world has been slugging through - even cheaper labor and mass layoffs

  1. SockRolid

    Joined: Dec 1969


    A moment of silence for our comrades

    Oops. There went The Workers' Paradise.

  1. thnikkaman

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Get rid of the damn depressed foxconn lady, MacNN ! I'm sick of that picture!

  1. jay3ld

    Joined: Dec 1969


    robo sucide

    We will soon hear about robots who have committed suicide because they are doing repetitive tasks and then blank their memory.

  1. JohnFromBeyond

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Oh my God, this is how the Terminator movies started. Soon they will take over the defense grid and we are all doomed. Sara Connor, I'm sorry we didn't listen!

  1. coffeetime

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Apple and Foxconn

    is the Skynet. We are doom.

  1. revco

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Boom time ahead...

    someone's gotta build those robots!

  1. Fast iBook

    Joined: Dec 1969



    The robotic assembly line republic of china sounds good, especially if it helps improve human worker conditions. I hope the robots are bought from the US.

    - A

  1. hayesk

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Why bother with China?

    Is it cheaper to have robots in China vs the US? Why not bring some production back?

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: Why bother

    Because the robots are only replacing human workers in some tasks. A lot more are still being done by hand, which means humans which means cheap labor is better.

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