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Foxconn Unit To Cut Over 10,000 Jobs As Robotics Take Over ( 104

According to Nikkei Asian Review, "Foxconn's panel arm Innolux is planning to slash more than 10,000 jobs this year as part of the company's aggressive efforts to increase the use of automation in manufacturing." Honorary Chairman Tuan Hsing-Chien said in a press conference on Tuesday: "We will reduce our total workforce to less than 50,000 people by the end of this year, from some 60,000 staff at the end of 2017." From the report: Innolux is a liquid crystal display-making affiliate of major iPhone assembler Hon Hai Precision Industry, better known as Foxconn Technology Group. Tuan is also a technology adviser to Foxconn, Sharp and Innolux. Tuan said up to 75% of production will be fully automated by the end of 2018. Most of Innolux's factories are in Taiwan. Tuan's pledge came a few days after Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou said the company would pour in some $342 million to overhaul its manufacturing process by using artificial intelligence.
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Foxconn Unit To Cut Over 10,000 Jobs As Robotics Take Over

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    . . . until they could perfect a robot that could commit suicide due to poor working conditions.

    • Now they won't have to work in those "sweat shops," right? They'll be so much better off unemployed than having that "sweat shop" job.

      • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2018 @10:42PM (#56087315)

        They'll be so much better off unemployed than having that "sweat shop" job.

        It is unlikely anyone will be unemployed. Most of these robots are going into areas where labor costs are highest, which means the areas around Shenzhen. There are plenty of other jobs in that area. Nearly every business is looking for workers.

        The headline and summary are misleading. What they describe as "job cuts" and "slashing" are really Foxconn dealing with hiring shortfalls. The one child policy started in 1979 and became more strictly enforced in the 1980s. Workers born in the "bulge" generation before that are no longer interested in working on factory floors, and there just aren't enough young people to replace them.

        There are three solutions:
        1. Move manufacturing further inland or to other countries (such as Vietnam), where supply chains will have to be rebuilt, and new workers trained.
        2. Raise wages to draw more workers off the farms.
        3. Use robots.

        From a business perspective, #3 is the best choice.

        • by nnull ( 1148259 ) on Thursday February 08, 2018 @01:02AM (#56087707)

          "From a business perspective, #3 is the best choice."

          It does look nice if you don't know what's involved. It's not so great when you actually try to implement robots and automation. It requires a lot of good involved key technical people and lots of patience. There are quite a lot of pitfalls, lots of headaches, things not working, lots of planning, lots of engineering involved and a lot of innovation involved. If you can't keep these people around, your robots might as well be expensive paper weights.

          I run into a lot of plant owners around me who think automation allows them to get rid of all their expensive employees, but it's actually the inverse. You end up getting rid of your cheap labor for highly paid skilled positions. To me it's a great thing, it's actually overall cheaper for me with better paid employees who care and knowing things get done without me having to worry or be stressed out. But there are a lot of managers and owners who don't see that at all and expect automation to replace their expensive maintenance people and engineers. They buy these expensive automated machines and expect Juan on minimum wage to be able to figure out how to run it, fix it, troubleshoot it, and also at the same time expect Juan to be QC. Then they cry and wonder how it turned into a disaster.

    • . . . until they could perfect a robot that could commit suicide due to poor working conditions. []

      Patrick Mattimore, a fellow at the Institute for Analytic Journalism, recently published the following article on China's People's Daily Online, headlined: Media badly misplaying Foxconn suicides.

      Taiwanese-owned Foxconn has had seven suicides this year. That sounds like a lot, but the firm has an estimated 800,000 workers, more than 300,000 of them at a single plant in Shenzhen.

      Although exact figures are hard to come by, even the most conservative estimate for China's suicide rate is 14 per 100,000 per year (World Health Organization). In other words, Foxconn's suicide epidemic is actually lower than China's national average of suicides.

      I checked his figures. World Health Organization suicide figures for China (1999) are 13 males and 14.8 females per 100,000 people.

      Elderly (65+ years) suicide rates can be as much as 50% higher than youth (18 to 24 years), which means Foxconn's suicide rate, with its younger workforce, should be significantly below the national average.

      Let's estimate an average of 10 suicides per 100,000 at Foxconn. Just the Shenzhen Foxconn plant alone, with its 330,000 employees, would be expected to have about 33 suicides this year, or 14 so far.

      Foxconn has had just 10 suicides this year, and that's across its entire workforce.

      Working at Foxconn dramatically reduces people's risk of suicide!

      • by pnutjam ( 523990 )
        Not to split hairs, but your probably just counting the suicides at work. I'm not aware of any statistics for how many Foxconn workers kill themselves outside of work. Do you have a source, or are you pulling this out of thin air?
        Most people would assume a normal out of work suicide rate and add the at work suicide rate, making it worse.
    • . . . until they could perfect a robot that could commit suicide due to poor working conditions.

      Came here to say that by cutting 10k jobs they will save a fortune on safety netting.

  • by drunken_boxer777 ( 985820 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2018 @09:47PM (#56087131)

    They already cut the workforce from 110,000 to 50,000 [].

    Somehow, when it is cheaper to replace Chinese workers with robots, those manufacturing jobs will come back to the US...

    • by EvilSS ( 557649 )
      Well if you remove the labor cost differences, it can start to make sense to start manufacturing closer to your end customers.

      But don't worry about those laid off workers. According to the Slashdot Buggy Whip law they will all get higher paying jobs making the robots that replace them.
      • Labour costs barely make a dent in the technology industry nowadays, nearly everything is heavily automated but it isn't only that, the processes used in manufacturing advanced semiconductors is not contingent on cost of materials or cost of labour anymore, some of the most expensive things we can make as humans are expensive because the tools we require to make these things are very expensive which requires an upfront investment but more importantly, electricity consumption can be absolutely absurd. For ex
        • by EvilSS ( 557649 )
          Yea but labor costs are so small in most of tech because the labor intensive jobs, particularly in manufacturing have moved to areas with cheap labor.
    • Yeah I was going to post that myself, Foxconn is a subsidary of Hon Hai. Hon Hai has actually been around since the 70's but they weren't as big then. People now associate Hon Hai/Foxconn with Apple but if you did some digging you'd find that your Pixel XL, Playstation 4, Nintendo 3DS and faithful old iPod Touch might be strangely familiar with Hon Hai too. Suffice to say HH has grown enormously in that time in terms of the amounts of stuff it produces but if you track the companies history it went from mak
    • by RedK ( 112790 )

      The factory doesn't operate fully automated. So when you cut the labor force, and thus labor wages aren't a factor, why pay for transport from China to mainland USA ?

      Bring the factory back, and hire locally for jobs that can't be automated (Q&A, control, maintenance).

      It actually makes TOTAL sense.

      • The cost of shipping is negligible vs. the increased cost of "local" US maintenance and QA jobs compared to Chinese maintenance and QA jobs. (Using your assumption that low skilled labor wages aren't a factor because those workers were cut when the robots came in.)

        It costs $516 to ship a 20' FCL from Shanghai to Los Angeles []. The internal dimensions [] are about 19' 4" long x 7' 8" wide x 7' 9" (approximate conversion from metric). An iPhone box is about what size? 8 x 4 x 2 inches? Thus, you can fit approximat

  • by gabrieltss ( 64078 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2018 @10:06PM (#56087195)

    FoxCONN (as it was a CON) bringing in the big new Diplay factory to Mount Pleasent, WI promising 30,000 jobs - yeah for ROBOTS! Foxconn even bought the old Northwest mutual building in Milwaukee to make it their North American Headquarters.
    A bunch of property owners are SUING over the use of "eminent domain" to take their land for the foxconn plant. Boy is Good old Scott Walker FUCKING the people of WI with this one!

    • The use of eminent domain to take land for commercial purposes is possible because of a Supreme Court decision in 2005 []. Prior to that decision, eminent domain could only be used to obtain land for government use and public works projects (e.g. freeways). Note that all the conservative justices dissented against the majority decision.

      Walker didn't make the rules - the liberal wing of the SCotUS did. Walker is simply using the law as liberals intended it. That's the problem with expanding the powers of
  • The good news is that the replacements will have higher wages and better living conditions.

  • by LoyalOpposition ( 168041 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2018 @11:34PM (#56087489)

    We will reduce our total workforce to less than 50,000 people by the end of this year, from some 60,000 staff at the end of 2017.

    That's outrageous! People really need to contact them and let them know what they think about this statement. It's not less than 50,000 people. It's fewer than 50,000 people.


  • by Uberbah ( 647458 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2018 @11:59PM (#56087549)

    ....a German union responded to increasing automation by striking for a 28 hour work week [] with a pay increase....and they won.

    • In a country where Labor what the amount of power they deserve this happens. You see, the US is *not* a free market country. Labor banding together is logical if the market is free.

    • ....a German union responded to increasing automation by striking for a 28 hour work week [] with a pay increase....and they won.

      Good for them. Now let's see how well their products compete.

      Seems we're rather fucking oblivious to the fact that price rules over all. Amazon didn't become the dominant market because consumers care about quality...

      • by Uberbah ( 647458 )

        You a capitalist fart-sniffer? Germany makes twice as many cars as the US while paying their workers twice as they compete pretty damned well.

        • by TheSync ( 5291 )

          Note that German car manufacturers have opened up many plants in the US such as Spartanburg [BMW] and Chattanooga [Volkswagen].

          28% of German-owned company vehicles sold in the US were built in the United States in the first 4 months of 2017.

          I suspect the percent will keep rising...

    • Your Euro-worshipping America-bashing is noted. Not that the point needed to be made, it gets pointed out to us on a daily basis by Europeans that America sucks and is an uncivilized shithole.

      Your link states that this is a maternity leave type thing that they can only do for 2 years, and they take a pay cut to do it. You're trying to insinuate that it's instead of the 40 hour week. Yah fake news.

  • factory that is supposed to be built in Wisconsin. Our brilliant governor gave them 3 billion dollars in incentives to build the factory because they promised "as amny as" 13k jobs would be created. I guess they didn't specify that they'd be jobs for humans...

    • Sounds like there was a kickback in there somewhere. I am not sure what the latest kickback techniques are in the US. I know a favoured kickback in China is for your child to win a scholarship to Oxford, Harvard, etc. with generous living expenses, car, etc..
  • Reduced production costs mean more goods are produced cheaper. More goods produced cheaper means those items can be sold for less and used to create jobs. If Henry Ford had decided not to use automation less cars would have been made and while he may have had more workers fewer people would have been able to buy the cars because they would have been more expensive. The low cost of automobiles have made product delivery cheap and accessible.

    Automation has created more jobs than it has "taken away" .. if auto

  • This is good news, because 10,000 people will no longer be exploited by Foxconn. Right? That is how it works, no?

"It takes all sorts of in & out-door schooling to get adapted to my kind of fooling" - R. Frost