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Rise of the robots: 60,000 workers culled from just one factory as China’s struggling electronics hub turns to artificial intelligence

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Kunshan, in Jiangsu province, undergoes makeover as 600 companies look to trim their headcount

The manufacturing hub for the electronics industry, Kunshan, in Jiangsu province, is seeking a drastic reduction in labour costs as it undergoes a makeover after an industrial explosion killed 146 people in 2014.

The county, one-seventh the size of neighbouring Shanghai and the mainland’s first county to achieve US$4,000 per capita income, was adjudged the best county for its economic performance by Forbes for seven years in a row.

However, the blaze, blamed on poor safety standards and haphazard industrialisation, dented Kunshan’s pride.

More than a year on, the county, which attracts much of its investment from Taiwan, is trying to reinvent its growth strategy. It is accelerating growth by replacing humans with robots and encouraging start-ups.

Kunshan explosion factory ignored several danger warnings, says regulator

Thirty-five Taiwanese companies, including Apple’s supplier Foxconn, spent a total of 4 billion yuan (HK$4.74 billion) on artificial intelligence last year, according to the Kunshan government’s publicity department.

“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,” said the department’s head Xu Yulian.

cut cont scmp

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The manufacturing hub for the electronics industry, Kunshan, in Jiangsu province, is seeking a drastic reduction in labour costs as it undergoes a makeover after an industrial explosion killed 146 people in 2014.

The county, one-seventh the size of neighbouring Shanghai and the mainland’s first county to achieve US$4,000 per capita income, was adjudged the best county for its economic performance by Forbes for seven years in a row.

However, the blaze, blamed on poor safety standards and haphazard industrialisation, dented Kunshan’s pride.

More than a year on, the county, which attracts much of its investment from Taiwan, is trying to reinvent its growth strategy. It is accelerating growth by replacing humans with robots and encouraging start-ups.

Thirty-five Taiwanese companies, including Apple’s supplier Foxconn, spent a total of 4 billion yuan (HK$4.74 billion) on artificial intelligence last year, according to the Kunshan government’s publicity department.

“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,” said the department’s head Xu Yulian.

“More companies are likely to follow suit.”

As many as 600 major companies in Kunshan have similar plans, according to a government survey.

The job cuts do not augur well for Kunshan, which had a population of more than 2.5 million at the end of 2014, two-thirds of whom were migrant workers.

<snip>

http://www.scmp.com/news/china/economy/article/1949918/rise-robots-60000-workers-culled-just-one-factory-chinas

Just a sign of what's to come.  China's labor is not cheap enough for them either. See that word "Growth" over and over. Why isn't making a stable profit enough for them?  Because they are not human, anymore than their robots.  If they do this everywhere, what happens to the consumers they are dependent upon to buy their goods?  Sales won't be affected if no one has a job to buy their garbage?  Quality control for shoddy goods will no longer be an excuse if they have robots who take their orders without emotion. Maybe I'm unable to visualize the big picture, but where are the consumers going to come from once this is everywhere?  

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Cinn, didn't you do a thread similar to this in the past?

If not you, someone did.

It was interesting.

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That was 2 days ago. lol Can't imagine why I missed it, sometimes my eyes just tend to glaze over. 

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I wasn't sure if I should have PM'ed you, but I knew you're not full of drama, so I just posted it here. lol.

The solution to merge was a good idea.

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4 minutes ago, Cinnamon said:

That was 2 days ago. lol Can't imagine why I missed it, sometimes my eyes just tend to glaze over. 

Me tinks u need to get a bit more sleep!

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2 minutes ago, Cryptic Mole said:

I wasn't sure if I should have PM'ed you, but I knew you're not full of drama, so I just posted it here. lol.

The solution to merge was a good idea.

No problem, as long as someone says something somewhere for a fix, I'm good. 

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