A Chinese Province Is Trying to Solve Its Labor Problems With Robots




What do you do if you’re faced with increasing labor costs and a shortage of workers? If you’re one Chinese province, you invest in workers that never demand raises and are willing to work around the clock.

Over the next five years, authorities in the eastern province of Zhejiang, a manufacturing hub, will invest some 500 billion yuan ($ 82 billion) to help 5,000 companies per year swap humans for machines, China Daily reports. Labor costs have been rising almost 16% annually in the province, and switching over to machines could trim the need for 700,000 jobs, according to the Zhejiang Economic and Information Commission. Of course, robot producers are quick to point out that using their products doesn’t necessarily mean job cuts. “Replacing workers with robots in dangerous and unhealthy working environments and using them for more creative jobs will be an inevitable choice for China’s manufacturing sector,” said Li Gang, China robotics head at the Zurich-based industrial robot producer ABB. Read more…

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