In response to rising labor costs combined with a shortage of workers, China has begun to provide incentives to encourage businesses to utilize robots to replace factory workers.
In a video interview for The NY Times, Peng Zhang, Vice Director of the Economy, for Shunde (a city of 2.4 million) in Guandong Province, China, says that he is administering a project to replace humans with robots. Zhang said that the half of Shunde’s population comprised of immigrant workers from other Chinese provinces cannot continue to grow. He cited the following reasons for his actions:
Bottom line: As a response to the changing landscape of the labor market, i.e., to compensate for higher wages and harder to find and train labor, several cities and provinces have encouraged robotics be employed in the factories in their districts. Many of Guandong Province’s local authorities, such as those in Shunde, have announced that they are offering various incentive plans to upgrade and adopt robotics into local manufacturers’ factories. Mr. Zhang says in the video that his goal is to reduce Shunde’s workforce by half by using robots and sending the low-skilled migrant workers replaced by the robots back to their home towns.