Robots to replace workers at Apple manufacturer Foxconn plant

Foxconn: Recruitment suspended due to installation of robots
Summary: Key manufacturer for Apple has halted hiring at its Chinese plants because it wants to further automate its processes with robots and replace employees.
By Cyrus Lee for View from China | February 22, 2013 — 03:45 GMT (19:45 PST

Electronics manufacturer Foxconn has halted recruitment in China, which it claims is due to plans to further automate processes, amid speculation of a reduction in production demand by its key client Apple. In fact, the recruitment freezes among Foxconn this time is due to its long pronounced plans to install million robots to replace human, Chinese newspaper reported on Wednesday, citing unidentified employees. Foxconn chairman Terry Gou had ordered all factories in China earlier this year to beef up automated manufacturing processes by using more robots. According to the report, if any factories plan to conduct large-scale recruitment, it will need his personal approval.Foxconn has plans to roll out one million robots to further automate manufacturing by 2014.The manufacturer makes various kinds of Apple products including iPhone and iPad, had denied earlier its hiring freeze in its largest Chinese base in Shenzhen was linked to lackluster iPhone 5 sales worldwide.However, Foxconn in an official statement contributed the slowdown in recruitment process to “an unprecedented rate of return of employees following the Chinese New Year holiday” as compared to past years.In the Beijing News report, the unidentified source, however, admitted the recruitment freeze in Foxconn was “somehow related to the reduction in iPhone 5 production”.In January, Apple has cut its component orders for the iPhone 5 due to the weaker-than-expected demand, The Wall Street Journal reported,citing people familiar with the situation.

Foxconn’s determination to replace human labors with robots are not groundless. In June 2011, Gou announced the company would deploy one million robots across factory assembly lines within three years.

The move will improve production efficiency and combat rising labor costs, and is also believed to be in response to a spate of suicides and criticism over working conditions at the company.

Corporate Welfare !

Many only think of welfare as money going to the needy. A lot of money goes to the rich….

Tom Eblen: Economic development incentives are welfare for big business
Published: December 8, 2012 By Tom Eblen — Herald-Leader columnist

When a poor person gets a government handout, it’s called welfare. When a rich corporation gets one, it’s called an economic development incentive.With local, state and federal government budgets tighter than ever, social programs are getting a hard look. But what about corporate welfare?The New York Times started a good conversation last week with a three-part investigative series called the United States of Subsidies. Reporter Louise Story spent 10 months analyzing corporate tax breaks, gifts and other incentives in all 50 states, which she figured add up to at least $80 billion in annual taxpayer subsidies to business.Business subsidies have mushroomed since the 1980s, when automakers started pitting states against one another to host new assembly plants. The strategy worked so well that other industries demanded freebies, too.A big reason corporate welfare has flourished is that politicians love being able to announce lots of new jobs coming to their area. (They often are out of office when those jobs never materialize or leave for another state offering better incentives.)From a national perspective, it is a zero-sum game. State and local incentives do little or nothing to grow the national economy; they just determine where in the nation the growth will occur.But it’s more insidious than that. Incentives redirect billions of tax dollars to corporate bottom lines instead of to improving education, health, safety, infrastructure and making other public investments that will create genuine, long-term economic development.The Times website (Nytimes.com) has state-by-state breakdowns of incentives and a searchable database of recipients. It shows that the nation’s biggest business incentive Santa is high-growth, low-wage, high-poverty Texas, at $19 billion a year.West Virginia and Oklahoma give up incentives equal to one-third of their budgets.The Times calculates Kentucky’s annual incentives at $1.41 billion — about 15 percent of the state budget, or $324 per Kentuckian. Those include $264 million in personal income tax credits; $108 million in sales tax refunds, exemptions and discounts; and $69.2 million in corporate income tax reductions, credits or rebates.The Times reports that most Kentucky incentives, $569 million worth, go to mining, oil and gas industries — no surprise there, given their political clout. That is followed by $341 million for agriculture and $180 million to manufacturers.As is true nationally, some of the biggest Kentucky incentive recipients in recent years were automakers: $307 million for Ford; $83.8 million for Toyota and $10 million for General Motors. Given their high wages and large supplier networks, those might be good investments.But the big head-scratcher in the Times’ database was $94.1 million in incentives to Tyson Foods from 1995-2009 for a low-wage chicken-processing plant in Henderson County. Is that the kind of economic development Kentucky taxpayers should be subsidizing?While the Times’ report is impressive in its national scope, there has long been debate about the value of incentives. The Herald-Leader published an investigative series in 2005 that questioned the value of many Kentucky tax breaks and other giveaways. The report resulted in some improved accountability, but did little to stem the flow of tax money into corporate pockets.A state-commissioned study issued this summer came up with incentive figures smaller than the Times reported, but still pretty staggering: $1.29 billion between 2001 and 2010. The report said 577 companies took incentives to locate 55,173 jobs in Kentucky at a cost to taxpayers of $23,385 per job.The incentive system favors large corporations over small businesses — often the employers who are already in a community and aren’t looking to leave. Officials have responded by coming up with some incentives for them, too, which just further drains government coffers.How do we stop this racket, where cities and states compete to steal jobs from one another? It would be great if Congress could pass a law, but it probably can’t. Still, with about 20 percent of state and local government budgets coming from federal dollars, somebody needs to be looking out for the national interest.Taxpayers should demand reform of these corporate welfare systems, just as they did social welfare systems in the 1990s. But it won’t be easy. Corporations employ more lobbyists and make more campaign donations than poor people do.

Tom Eblen: (859) 231-1415. Email: teblen@herald-leader.com. Twitter: @tomeblen. Blog: tomeblen.bloginky.com

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2012/12/08/2436858/tom-eblen-economic-development.html#storylink=misearch#storylink=cpy