Stat of the day: 1m

The number of robots that will be toiling away in Foxconn's Chinese factories by 2014.

Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

Is this the beginning of the robot uprising? In any case, it looks like the days of the Chinese factory worker could be numbered, as an army of robots prepares to descend. According to Foxconn, the electronics company based in China that assembles components for Apple, 1m robots will join the its production line in three years’ time. Better start digging that subterranean shelter now…

Foxconn already uses 10,000 robots on its assembly line, but it’s now expanding that number in light of shifts in the Chinese economy which is putting pressure on profit margins: namely, the rise in GDP has made Chinese workers demand higher salaries. And since China has become well-known for its rock-bottom labour costs, that threatens China’s competitive edge when it comes to manufacturing.

Foxconn, however, stressed that the aim is to remove employees from menial tasks and move them ‘higher up the value chain beyond basic manufacturing work,’ according to the FT. Last year, the company came under pressure from labour activists after a number of workers killed themselves. Campaigners argued it was because they were frustrated with the long hours and monotony of their jobs. Complaints robots don’t tend to have…

Photo credit: Flickr/Dystopos

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