Foxconn, the biggest manufacturer of Apple devices, said that it planned to place 1 million robots on its assembly lines within three years.
According to Xinhuanet, the robots would take workers’ positions on the line at a time when labor costs are rising in China.
The robots would be used to do simple tasks, such as spraying, welding and assembling, routine jobs that are currently performed by humans, according to the release.
Foxconn currently uses 10,000 robots to perform various tasks, and the number will be increased to 300,000 by next year. The current Foxconn workforce is at 1.2 million, with 1 million workers residing in the Chinese mainland.
Foxconn has had a rocky history since 2010. In July of that year several workers committed suicide. In early 2011 an audit by Apple found human-rights abuses of workers by the company. A few weeks following the audit, several factory workers came forward, writing a letter to Jobs that said they had been poisoned in the ill-kempt factories. And finally, in May 2011, an explosion rocked one of the Foxconn plants, killing two and injuring 16. It was widely acknowledged that the factory explosion took place because of a haphazard approach to building the facility, an approach which was expedited to handle demand of the iPad2.