Foxconn has replaced 60,000 factory workers with robots since iPhone 6 launch

Apple iPhone’s manufacturer, Foxconn has replaced nearly 60,000 of its factory workers with robots in an attempt to cut down costs. The factory in question is based in manufacturing-heavy hub Kunshun region of China.

“The Foxconn factory has reduced its employee strength from 110,000 to 50,000, thanks to the introduction of robots,” said a government official, adding that “it has tasted success in reduction of labour costs.”

The head of publicity for the Kunshan region, Xu Yulian added: “More companies are likely to follow suit.” It is reported that China is making huge investments in robot workforce.

Foxconn Technology Group in a statement to the BBC acknowledged that it was automating “many of the manufacturing tasks associated with our operations” but denied that it meant long-term job losses.

“We are applying robotics engineering and other innovative manufacturing technologies to replace repetitive tasks previously done by employees, and through training, also enable our employees to focus on higher value-added elements in the manufacturing process, such as research and development, process control and quality control.

“We will continue to harness automation and manpower in our manufacturing operations, and we expect to maintain our significant workforce in China.”

More than 500 companies in the Chinese province of Dongguan have spent a total of $630M on robot and AI technology to replace human workers since September 2014. Back in January, it was reported that Foxconn had received a $12M government subsidy to help reduce layoffs in response to reduced iPhone orders.

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