While every label seems to have a “Made in China” sticker on it these days, most people probably don’t think what goes on behind that label. In China, it is a pretty well known fact that labor is cheap and so many factories are where we have a lot of our goods made, everything from toys to gadgets to clothing.
The financial landscape of China is changing, however, so says a report over at Business Insider. It seems as though the labor force in manual labor is on the decline due to population aging and schooling. Combined with government programming, this is driving wages up, so modernization is the way to go, and that means automating a lot of the processes normally handled by humans.
A lot of factors have affected the labor supply, and according to the charts, wage inflation and global recession are part of the problem. Added to that list is demographic shift due to the “one child” policy, education, which means workers will seek higher paying jobs.
It has been reported in the past that China was replacing approximately 500,000 workers with robots due to a booming economy. China’s economic growth led to increases in worker wages and, at the same time, increased demand for the electronics that Hon Hai, one of the largest electronics manufacturer, makes.
Hon Hai’s company chairman Terry Gou signed a letter of intent to invest $3.3 billion in greater Taichung. He said the robots will increase the production value of Foxconn, the name that Hon Hai trades under, by about $4 billion over the next three to five years and create about 2,000 new jobs.
This change is also being made because the company needs something positive. For too long, the company experienced a string of suicides at several Foxconn campuses, drawing international scrutiny and criticism. The companies factories are models of efficiency, with a production line scheme designed in such a way that no worker will rest even one second.
Foxconn has pledged to install one million robots at its plants by 2013, equaling the firm’s current total number of human workers.
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Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli