Apple Supplier Foxconn Replaces 60,000 Human Workers With Robot Army

Apple supplier Foxconn replaced 60,000 human workers with robot workers in Kunshan, Jiangsu, China. This makeover was motivated by both rising labor costs and the 2014 explosion in Kunshan that killed 146 people.

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Although Kunshan is one-seventh the size of neighboring Shanghai, it was the first mainland city in China to achieve $4,000 USD per capita income. Forbes rated Jiangsu as the Chinese county with the best economic performance seven years in a row. At the end of 2014, Kunshan had a population of 2.5 million people, two-thirds of whom were migrant workers.

The 2014 explosion and overall reduced profits did some serious damage to the Kunshan economy. The explosion revealed the dangerous working conditions in the factories. At its peak, Kunshan manufactured 120 million laptops a year, but output had fallen to only 51 million because of falling demand.

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Artificial intelligence is one of Kushan’s solutions to help reduce costs and encourage business. Thirty-five Taiwanese companies, including Apple’s supplier Foxconn, spent a total of of roughly 4 billion yuan on robots. At least 600 other major companies in Kunshan will likely follow suit. Xu Yulian, the head of Kunshan’s government publicity department, stated, “The Foxconn factory has reduced its employee strength from 110,000 to 50,000, thanks to the introduction of robots. It has tasted success in reduction of labour costs.”

Economists are incredibly worried about the effect robots will have on the market. They predict that 35% of global jobs are at risk over the next 20 years. Perhaps Apple Inc. should have gone with the clone army instead.

Tags:  Apple, Robot, foxconn, AI
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