Foxconn wants 300,000 robots


Foxconn, the Taiwanese manufacturer hit by a number of employee suicides in 2010, is to ramp up its use of robots.

The company, which produces a number of products for tech giants such as the Apple iPhone and iPad, said it wants 300,000 robots working by next year. It currently has 10,000.

Chairman Terry Gou revealed the plans during a talk with staff in Longhua, according to various reports. In a separate statement, Gou said he wanted to move one million workers "higher up the value chain."

He said he wanted to move "workers from more routine tasks to more value-added positions in manufacturing such as research and development, innovation and other areas that are equally important to the success of our operations," according to the BBC.

Foxconn has a number of other major clients, including Dell, HP, Nokia and Sony.

The company has been hit by a number of fatalities at its plants. May this year was a particularly bad month, in which three workers were killed in an explosion at a factory where iPads were being made.

Last year, the company felt compelled to hand out pay rises at its Shenzhen plant, where 10 employees were believed to have committed suicide in the space of just a few months.

Workers had complained about conditions at Foxconn factories in the past, with some saying they felt like machines themselves.

Foxconn said it had improved conditions at its facilities in 2010.

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.