Everyone’s preferred Taiwanese consumer electronics manufacturer Foxconn has announced that it will raise its robotic workforce to 1 million in the next three years.
Foxconn, which is world’s largest maker of computer components, assembles products for Apple, Sony and Nokia. It currently employs over 1.2 million people but only 10,000 robots. However, by 2014, Foxconn plans to increase that number to 1 million. The company’s founder Terry Gou broke the news during a “company dance party” this Friday, saying that the new bots would help reduce rising labor costs and increase efficiency.
Apart from its affiliation with Apple, Foxconn has regularly made headlines over its treatment of employees, and a string of suicides amongst its workers. The company also notably operates a company-owned community, drawing unavoidable comparisons to American coal towns. Whether these new robots will help improve company’s working conditions or image remains to be seen. What also remains to be seen is whether such an enormous addition to Foxconn’s robotic workforce will lead to human layoffs, or simply larger production capacity.