It looks like the days of employees being replaced en masse by robots could be closer than ever, after a Chinese factory cut 90 per cent of its staff.
Even more worrying, the Changying Precision Technology Company in Dongguan, China has seen its productivity increase by 162.5 per cent as a result of the changes.
The factory, which manufactures mobile phone parts, previously employed 650 members of staff, but this figure has now fallen to just 60. General manager Luo Weiqiang has told local news sources that the factory plans to cut staff numbers further to just 20.
The majority of the factory work is now carried out by 60 robotic arms, resulting in production per employee increasing from 8,000 to 21,000 pieces. The robotic staff have also reduced the amount of defective products from 25 per cent to just five per cent.
The factory is not the only business looking to improve efficiency by removing human workers. Dongguan ultimately plans to introduce 1,500 mechanised factories by 2016 through its "robot replace human" scheme. Since September last year, more than 500 factories have invested 4.2 billion yuan (£433 million) in robotic technology, with the aim of replacing 30,000 human workers.
A more efficient manufacturing industry isn’t all good news for the Chinese economy, however. China already has an ageing population that will surely need support from a younger workforce, but the growing trend of using robotic staff threatens job security for many.
Using robot workers to fulfil menial tasks and manual labour should prove to be hugely beneficial in the long term, but governments around the world need to prepare now for the disruption this is likely to cause within traditional industries.