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Is Foxconn Deploying Robots to Replace Workforce?

Foxconn, the Chinese company that makes iPhone and iPad for Apple, will use robots to manufacture products in coming years.

In a speech made by Foxconn CEO Terry Gou, the company plans to automate its routine assembly line tasks, which will allow it to invest more in research and development and cut down on labour costs. The tasks undertaken by the robots will include spraying, welding and assembling products.

The company plans to deploy more than 1 million robots in the next three years to fulfil its goals. Foxconn currently has 10,000 robots working at the assembly line. It plans to add 300,000 robots by the end of this year and bring the number to a million by 2014.

As it turns out that the claims made by the CEO in regards to the figures were not entirely supported by the company, which declined to confirm any numbers and released a statement, as cited by The Financial Times blog, saying that the CEO had “made remarks about his vision for the company, the opportunities that the future holds for the company and its employees, and his commitment to moving the more than 1 million employees at Foxconn higher up the value chain beyond basic manufacturing work.”

The question that remains is that how many workers are going to lose their jobs as an aftermath of this automation? Foxconn is adamant that the use of robots will be only for productivity enhancements and they are not meant to replace workers. But, time will tell of the course this move takes and its impact on the workforce of Foxconn.