Foxconn begins replacing workers with robots

first_imgWhen your employees start inciting riots and sparking both international investigations and calls for new labor regulations, what should you do? If you happen to be overseas manufacturing giant Foxconn, you could try to replace those workers with high-tech robots. The latest buzz in the ongoing saga with the overseas manufacturing giant-cum-microstate is that it has begun ditching some of its human employees in exchange for tireless robotic counterparts.The company has reportedly received its first order of 10,000 robot units, or as they have come to be known, “Foxbots.” Each one costs between $20,000 and $25,000, roughly the combined annual salary of three Foxconn factory workers.The massive corporation has more than a million employees. Over the last two years, at least 16 have committed suicide on company property. And just a couple months ago, a massive 2000-employee riot forced the plant to temporarily shut down. Although Foxconn was founded in the 1970s, it was only within the last few years that it has started to gain massive international scrutiny.The decision to slash some of its human workforce was first announced last year. Foxconn told its workers about the impending move well ahead of time, telling them in a refreshing sense of transparency that it was looking to reduce costs and create efficiencies. At the time, the company said its plan was to install one million robots over the span of three years. 20,000 more are due by the end of 2012.Because of the increasing scrutiny on the company, it was forced to increase its worker salaries by 25% but remains under pressure to supply electronic components at rock-bottom prices. The massive investment in the robotic equipment will take a few years to pay off, but after that, if all goes well, it should be able to produce huge quantities at low prices without any human rights groups getting up in arms or workers facing unfair conditions.TechWeb (Chinese), via Singularity Hublast_img

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