Foxconn gives up on humans

Taiwanese technology giant Foxconn has decided that humans are not all they are cracked up to be and wants to replace them with a million robots.

A robot never embarrasses you by leaking Apple secrets to the media, they never get tired or throw themselves off the top of high buildings because they feel they are being bullied. Nor do they ask you for money and push the unit price of your product up.

Terry Gou, founder and chairman of the company, told Xinhuanet that  it will take three years to replace the staff. The robots will be used to do simple and routine work such as spraying, welding and assembling which are now mainly conducted by workers.

Foxconn has 10,000 robots at the moment and the number will be increased to 300,000 next year with the rest coming out of their boxes after that.

It is not clear how many staff that will get their marching orders. The outfit currently hires more than 1.2 million problematic humans with a million of them based on the Chinese mainland.

Foxconn has recently been looking at ways to bring down the cost of its products. So far this has meant moving its plants to the centre of China where the labour is cheaper.

However, the reason that Foxconn is in China is because the labour is cheaper. If it no longer depends so much on cheap labour, it might not need to set up its plants behind the bamboo curtain. Fully automated plants could be built anywhere where the land is cheaper and there is a small pool of labour prepared to work the robots cheaply enough.