Guangzhou steps up robot rollout after strike wave

Source:Xinhua Published: 2014-4-16 23:03:04

South China's economic powerhouse of Guangzhou has set a goal of having 80 percent of the city's manufacturing production done by robots instead of human labor by 2020.

According to an industrial development guideline issued by the municipal government on Tuesday, the use of industrial robots will be encouraged in mechanical and automobile manufacturing, food processing and the manufacturing of pharmaceutical, electronic and dangerous products.

The document says that there will be subsidies of up to 30,000 yuan ($4,800) for those who purchase or rent a robot, and a maximum one-off 500,000 yuan subsidy for companies that introduce a complete set of automation equipment in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong Province.

Increasing living costs have led to an exodus of migrant workers from China's better-developed coastal regions to central and western regions.

Workers in labor-intensive industries in Guangdong have staged frequent protests and strikes this year over pay.

The latest massive strike continued for a third day on Wednesday at a shoe factory in the city of Dongguan, renowned for its migrant population.

Thousands of workers from Yue Yuen Industrial (Holdings), a footwear maker for global sportswear brands including Nike and Adidas, took to the street after failing to agree with the employer on welfare programs.

The Guangzhou municipal government believes rising human resource costs and increased demand for sophisticated manufacturing have provided an opportunity for the accelerated rollout of robots.

The government document states that the government is dedicated to fostering a robotics industry with an estimated output value of more than 100 billion yuan by 2020, when it will also boast two to three robotics industrial parks.

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