“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,” Xu Yulian, head of the Kunshan government’s publicity department, told South China Morning Post
“More companies are likely to follow suit,” he added.
Foxconn is Apple’s biggest supplier with devices such as the iPhone and iPad manufactured there. While headquartered in Taiwan, the firm presently operates 12 factories around China.
When contacted by the BBC
, Foxconn denied that the automation of these manufacturing tasks would result in 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,” a spokesperson said.
"We will continue to harness automation and manpower in our manufacturing operations, and we expect to maintain our significant workforce in China.”
Elsewhere around the country, moves have also been made towards an automated workforce.
Since September 2014, 505 factories in Guangdong province have invested 4.2 billion yuan (S$880 million) in robots with the aim to replace thousands of employees.
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Multinational electronics company, Foxconn has replaced 60,000 employees with robots in a factory near Shanghai in Kunshan, China.