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News Link • Employee and Employer Relations

Migrant Workers in China Face Competition from Robots

• http://www.technologyreview.com, Christina Larson
 One of the defining narratives of modern China has been the migration of young workers—often girls in their late teenage years—from the countryside into sprawling cities for jobs in factories. Many found work at Foxconn, which employs nearly one million low-wage workers to hand-assemble electronic gadgets for Apple, Nintendo, Intel, Dell, Nokia, Microsoft, Samsung, and Sony.

So it was a surprise when Terry Guo, the hard-charging, 61-year-old billionaire CEO of Foxconn, said last July that the Taiwan-based manufacturing giant would add up to one million industrial robots to its assembly lines inside of three years.

The aim: to automate assembly of electronic devices just as companies in Japan, South Korea, and the United States previously automated much of the production of automobiles.

Foxconn, one of China's largest private employers, has long played an outsize role in China's labor story. It has used cheap labor to attract multinational clients but now faces international scrutiny over low pay and what some see as inhumane working conditions.

2 Comments in Response to

Comment by Steve Duncan
Entered on:

Only a "loko" would do what your badly disconnected mind would think of doing. Somebody who wanted to do what you wanted to do here in America probaby is in the mental asylum.  Wonder you are not there with him right now.

Comment by Ed Price
Entered on:

Wal-mart imports a vast majority of products (other than groceries) from China. What if they built housing for Chinese workers, brought them here from China, and paid them double the wages they would receive in China, while laying off all their American workers who they pay vastly more? After a certain term, they would send the Chinese home, bring in another Chinese group, and start the process again. This would save them tons of money, help the Chinese get richer, reduce product prices (at the expense of American workers), put competition out of business, help the Empire Builders by causing less difference between Chinese and American wages, etc..

Oops! I sure hope there aren't any Wal-mart execs reading this.


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