The World Bank estimates that up to 77% of jobs in China could be made redundant by machines in the long term. Investing in robots will become more attractive for manufacturers. The Chinese government also pledges to make China a “world factory” of robots. But real changes are much slower. Reports say that large numbers of workers are still used on production lines doing repetitive tasks such as scrubbing speaker systems with toothbrushes. Despite the fact that China’s labor costs are six times higher than 10 years ago, workers are often still cheaper than robots in short term.
Over the past 25 years, China has become the world’s preeminent manufacturer, churning out everything from running shoes to Apple products. Powering that ascent was heavy foreign direct investment combined with a seemingly inexhaustible pool of cheap labor. But now, as the Chinese economy slows, wages rise and the workforce atrophies, the decades-long manufacturing boom may be ending. To help deliver China from industrial decline, the Chinese leadership is betting on automation. However for Beijing to become the world’s robotic leader, there is an even more complex issue behind updating robotic technology: how to handle the displacement of large numbers of Chinese workers?
To stay relevant in the future, individuals need to learn much more quickly and differently. That entails a different kind of learning organization.
The Fall 2014 issue of CKGSB Knowledge is out! It has articles and interviews like: COVER STORY: Around the World: In a circuitous way, billions of dollars rely on an international game of legal cat and mouse. China’s top companies use variable interest entities, but now the Alibaba IPO is shining a light on this legal grey area. CHINA BY NUMBERS: From […]
How will the progress of IT and automation change the future of work? In 1988, Harvard Business School Professor Shoshana Zuboff predicted that the working world was on the verge of a revolution in which many jobs would be “informated”-automated and computerized in ways that would greatly extend human capacities even as it dumbs-down the […]