Singularity Hub – a first batch of 10,000 robots — aptly named Foxbots — appear to have made its way into at least one Foxconn factory, and by the end of 2012, another 20,000 more will be installed. Foxconn is aiming to replace 1 million Foxconn workers with robots within 3 years.
According to a translated page from the Chinese site Techweb, each robot costs between $20,000 to $25,000, which is over three times the average salary of one worker. However, amid international pressure, Foxconn continues to increase worker salaries with a 25 percent bump occurring earlier this year.
Chinese tech site TechWeb says the robots cost up to $25,000 a piece to manufacture. (Credit: TechWeb)
Foxconn, which has 1.2 million employees in China, has come under scrutiny in the past few years amid reports of employees committing suicide at company facilities. The company has also been accused of employing underage laborers, providing poor living conditions at its dormitory housing, and overworking employees.
Prior to the announcement of the the robot initiative last year, at least 16 workers reportedly committed suicide since the beginning of 2010 at Foxconn’s factory in Shenzhen, China, a plant that employs hundreds of thousands of workers. Another three have attempted to suicide at the job site.
Most of the suicides have involved jumping from buildings. In response to the situation, the company promised to install “suicide nets” to discourage employees from jumping, as well as raise salaries by 25 percent.