The Washington Post

Report: Apple partner Foxconn adding 1 million robots to workforce

Foxconn is reportedly set to increase its robot labor force by 200,000 in the next year. Above, a manhole cover imprinted with the Foxconn Technology Group logo sits in a street at the Longhua Science & Technology Park, also known as Foxconn city, in Shenzhen, China, , April 18, 2011. (Forbes Conrad/BLOOMBERG)

According to a report from Chinese news agency Xinhua, the company will introduce 1 million robots into its labor force in the next three years. The new machines will take over repetitive work such as spraying, welding and assembly, the report said.

Foxconn chairman Terry Gou reportedly announced the change at an employee party, and said that the company aims to increase the number of robots it uses from 100,000 to 300,000 in the next year. The report said the company currently has about 1.2 million employees, with 1 million on the Chinese mainland.

VentureBeat reported last week that device manufacturer Pegatron beat out Foxconn for an exclusive contract for production of the next iPad. That device could be out in time for Thanksgiving, according to The China Times.

Foxconn has come under scrutiny over its working conditions after reports broke of a spate of suicides at the factory last summer, and an explosion killed three workers in May.

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Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.

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