A new report claims Foxconn, which assembles iPhones for Apple, has replaced 60,000 of its 110,000 workers at one of its Chinese factories with robots.
According to The South China Morning Post, the changes were made to the Foxconn plant in Kunshan:
Thirty-five Taiwanese companies, including Apple's supplier Foxconn, spent a total of 4 billion yuan (HK$4.74 billion) on artificial intelligence last year, according to the Kunshan government's publicity department. "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," said the department's head Xu Yulian. "More companies are likely to follow suit."
In a statement sent to the BBC, Foxconn did state it was using robotics more "to replace repetitive tasks previously done by employees". It added:
"We will continue to harness automation and manpower in our manufacturing operations, and we expect to maintain our significant workforce in China."