Robot shock

The strategists driving initiatives such as Make in India need to think hard about whether robots will change the global manufacturing game


The news this week that component maker Foxconn is planning to replace 60,000 workers in China with robots needs more attention, especially in India. Photo: Reuters
The news this week that component maker Foxconn is planning to replace 60,000 workers in China with robots needs more attention, especially in India. Photo: Reuters

Foxconn is one of the stars of the new global supply chains that have emerged to take advantage of low labour costs in China.

There has been a lot of discussion about where component makers such as Foxconn could move their factories as Chinese labour costs rise.

India is one obvious option because of its relatively lower wages. And Foxconn has already shown interest in setting up manufacturing facilities in India.

That is why the news this week that the component maker is planning to replace 60,000 workers in China with robots needs more attention.

The rise of robotics means that global companies now have an alternative to shifting their facilities to other countries.

They can replace men with robots.

The strategists driving initiatives such as Make in India need to think hard about whether robots will change the global manufacturing game.

Has the shift of factories since the 1970s from Japan to East Asia to China now ended?

A lot is riding on the answer to this question.

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