Wednesday, 6 May 2015

1,000 robots to man 'zero-labour factory' in China

The Straits Times, 5 May 2015

BEIJING - A manufacturing hub in southern China's Guangdong province has begun the city of Dongguan's first "zero-labour factory".

The Dongguan-based private company called Everwin Precision Technology is planning to put 1,000 robots into use in its first phase of the project, reported China National Radio.

It said the company already has 100 robots at work, under a local government "robot assembling line" strategy.

The Guangdong authorities said in March that they would invest 943 billion yuan (S$202 billion) to replace humans with robots within three years.

The local government wants robots in 1,950 companies across the province and plans to build two advanced industrial bases for robot production by the end of 2017.

"The 'zero-labour factory' does not mean we will not employ any humans, but what it means is that we will scale down the size of workers by up to 90 per cent," said Mr Chen Qixing, Everwin Precision Technology's chairman.

Mr Chen predicted that instead of the current 2,000 workers, the company will require only 200 to operate software systems and backstage management.

Labour shortages have increased calls to use smart robots in cities around the Pearl River Delta.

Manufacturers in the Pearl River Delta are short of an estimated 600,000 to 800,000 workers, according to data released in February.

Tens of thousands of migrant workers went back home for Spring Festival family get-togethers, but some reportedly remained in their inland hometowns because of the lower living costs there than in coastal cities.

China also faces an increasing number of ageing migrant workers.

The number of migrant workers continued to grow last year, but the rate of increase has fallen consecutively for four years.

"In the future, the percentage of migrant workers under 40 will further decrease, and this is a warning for China's labour-intensive manufacturing industry," said senior researcher Li Zuojun of the Development Research Centre of the State Council, according to the Economic Daily.


Two robots that make Japanese ramen in a Shanghai restaurant have attracted many curious diners, although a bowl of noodles there is much expensive.
Posted by China Xinhua News on Saturday, December 26, 2015


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