Robots powered by artificial intelligence are set to replace Chinese factory workers in a move aimed at boosting the manufacturing industry which has been hit hard by a rise in wages.
The machines which are capable of making, assembling and inspecting goods on production lines have already been rolled out, with one factory laying off 30 workers to make way for the robots. The robots were displayed at China’s Hi-Tech fair in Shenzhen earlier this month, an annual event which showcases new development ideas with the aim of driving growth in a number industries. But the news has annoyed Washington as it is expected to put international competitors at a disadvantage, as the two countries’s bitter trade war continues to escalate.
Speaking to the Financial Times, Sabrina Li, a senior manager at IngDan, said: “We incubated this platform so we can meet the (Made in China 2025) policy.
“One noodle factory was able to dismiss 30 people, making it more productive and efficient.”
Giving the suffering manufacturing industry a leg up is a key part of the Chinese government’s Made in China 2025 policy.
Zhangli Xing, deputy manager of Suzhou Govian Technology which sells the quality control robots, said they are more reliable than human labour.
Mr Xing said : “A person looking by eye would take 5-6 seconds for each object, versus 2-3 seconds by machine. And humans will get tired and make more errors.”
This year the US announced three rounds of tariffs on $250bn worth of Chinese products while China retaliated with levies on $50bn of US products.
President Trump is set to meet with President Xi Jinping at the G-20 meeting in Buenos Aires next week and investors expect their relationship to remain frosty behind closed doors, regardless of cordial handshakes and smiles for the cameras.