Foxconn president, Terry Guo, “said in 2010 that it would produce 1 million Foxbots, a mechanical arm researched and developed by Foxconn to perform dull and dangerous jobs,” Li Xuena reports for Caixin Online. “The robots would be implemented from 2012 to 2015 to increase the rate of automation and productivity.”

“However, a poor financial showing in 2012 has become an obstacle realizing the plan. Foxconn’s net loss in 2012 was $316 million, the biggest loss it has suffered since listing in Hong Kong in 2005, the company’s financial report shows,” Xuena reports. “However, Liu Kun, a spokesperson for Foxconn, said it would continue with automation. ‘Nowadays, young workers are picky about their workplaces, and it’s become difficult for us to find workers.'”

Xuena reports, “Earlier this year at a workshop in Foxconn’s Longhua factory in Shenzhen, hundreds of Foxbots were tested. This was the result of years of effort for Foxconn. Around 2006, Guo hired a batch of experts from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to work full time on researching and developing robots. However, Foxconn has run into some difficulty in its automation efforts. ‘Obviously, Terry Guo overestimated the pace of using Foxbots to replace workers,’ a Foxconn equipment supplier who declined to be named said. So far, some 20,000 Foxbots have been produced by Foxconn, a source close to the company said, but half of them are still in the warehouse… Apple has also urged Foxconn to buy automation equipment, such as machines made by Fanuc Corp., a Japanese company that is one of the world’s largest industrial robot and factory automation firms, a department head at Foxconn said.”

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