China Is Building An Army Of Robot Workers

Tyler Durden's picture

As wages for Chinese workers’ skyrocket, the country’s manufacturers are scrambling to replace humans with machines, in many cases to preserve thin profit margins that have been choked by debt service.

But according to a report from Bloomberg Intelligence, China’s embrace of automation – its companies are installing machines faster than in any other country – could have unintended consequences for the global economy, as the robots force wages to sink, inequality to balloon, and consumption to collapse.

To be sure, the blistering pace of AI adoption hasn’t dented Chinese wages – at least not yet.  

“Pay gains are intact. Domestic manufacturing workers with a high-school education saw wages rise 53 percent from 2010 to 2014, according to China Household Finance Survey data cited by BI.”

But as one economist explained, the increasing reliance on automation could thwart the Communist Party’s plan to transition to a service-focused economy.   

“By turbocharging supply and depressing demand, automation risks exacerbating China’s reliance on export-driven growth – threatening hopes for a more balanced domestic and global economy,” BI economists Tom Orlik and Fielding Chen wrote.”

However, China’s leaders have embraced a different view. Beijing believes that if it can automate sectors like car manufacturing, electronics, appliances. Logistics and food, its citizens will focus on better service-sector jobs, while also compensating for an anticipated shrinking of the workforce. The Communist Party’s Made In China 2025 plan and a separate five-year plan governing the expansion of its robot workforce were launched last year.

“Robots are at the core of the government’s sweeping Made in China 2025 plan to upgrade factories to be highly automated and technologically-advanced. Replacing assembly-line workers will also help it to offset a shrinking working-age population.”

As part of its plan, China is also hoping to produce more of its own robots, crowding out the foreign firms that presently dominate that market.

“The government also wants to increase the share of Chinese-branded robots in the country’s $11 billion market to more than 50 percent of total sales volume by 2020 from 31 percent last year, and aims to produce 100,000 robots a year by 2020, compared with 33,000 in 2015. That means competition will intensify for foreign firms that supply 67 percent of China’s robots, such as Japan’s Fanuc Corp. and Yaskawa Electric Corp., according to BI.

While China is quickly catching up to South Korea and other global robotics leaders, the overall population density of robots in China remains below the world average.

In a viral video published back in April, the People’s Daily provided a glimpse into the rapidly approaching future of China's labor force: The video, also released by the SCMP, shows hundreds of round Hikvision robots, each roughly the size of a seat cushion, swiveling across the floor of the large warehouse in Hangzhou. A worker is seen feeding each robot with a package before the machines carry the parcels away to different areas around the sorting center.

The robots sort more than 200,000 packages a day.

And as engineers continue to make progress building robots that are better suited toward working alongside humans, the robots’ numbers will probably continue to skyrocket.

While the impact on wages has been mild for now, it likely won’t stay that way forever.

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ET's picture

Chinese Terminators coming soon.

The Chinese emperor will begin pushing north into Siberia with his robot army.

Manthong's picture


Maybe if they got off that one child policy they could find enough workers to do that work.

Just a couple years ago or so it was claimed they need 25 million new jobs a year.

There might be some social dynamics the Chinese brain trust might not be considering.

sickavme's picture

What are they gonna do with armies of unemployed chinese?


We all know the answer to that question(and it ain't pretty)

NiggaPleeze's picture


India and Pakistan have too many people too.  Just sayin'.

DWD-MOVIE's picture

I’m making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. This is what I do…

webmatex's picture

I'm making (1965 adjusted for inflation) over $7k a month working part time for the National Guard because of George Soros  OpenDemocracy. I kept hearing other people tell me how they won't take shit this anymore and how JohnsonTrump must do something about it so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. This is what I do...

tmosley's picture

>More production at lower prices causes consumption to collapse

Author is retarded.

Nexus789's picture

Lots in Africa as well. 

TheEndIsNear's picture

The one child policy is only for the poor.

totenkopf88's picture

Can't the Chinamen import cheap Mexican labor to destroy any type of wage growth ? It works here in the US

ET's picture

The Chinese have the Vietnamese to serve that role.

totenkopf88's picture

Yes- but the Chinese don't physically let the Vietnamese into China to destroy the fabric of their culture like we do with the Mexicans.

PT's picture

If the Chinese can accept lower wages then they can keep their jobs!

Errr, that was sarcasm.  Not many people 'round here will notice that.

I said it the other day.  The less you pay your workers, the faster you can pay for the robots - or pay with cash instead of borrowing money.  Some people did not seem to understand that idea - "But when workers cost less you save less by replacing them with robots." - Looks like for some strange reason the factory owners do not care.

strickler's picture

If borrowing costs are nearly zero, then investing in automation is much easier.


TPTB are attacking the working classes from every angle... Oversupply of cheap immigrant labor, high taxes, low interest rates, and currency devaluation.

GoldLion's picture


spag's picture

what makes you think the chicoms want to keep wages down? unlike the us commies, the chinese ones do seem to care about being turfed out by the mob unhappy about their economic lot.


india is fucked tho. they have been hoping to get all the low wage shit jobs that werent going to be economical in china no more. the chinese robots have just fucked them in the ass.

Vigilante's picture

Indians are not known for their hard work

deja's picture

India takes good paying jobs and turns them into shit.

Moustache Rides's picture

Chinaman is not the preferred nomenclature.  Asian, please.

NiggaPleeze's picture


So how do you distinguish between Chinese, Koreans, Japanese, Indians, Arabs, Turks, Persians, Filipinos, Burmese, Mongolians, Afghanis, Russians since they are all Asians?

And you do know that Cauc(aus Mountain)Asians are, well, Asians too?

I guess that leaves out Africans, lol.

Moustache Rides's picture

Lmao.. Jesus Christ.. none of you dipshits ever saw The Big Lebowski?  I guess i should have put the sarc tag up for the intellectually impaired.

roddy6667's picture




I'll bet you refer to women as broads and have a rotary phone.

tmosley's picture

No no no, it's "rice niggers".

And women are "cunts".

qomolangma's picture

If those guys ever step in Asia and still use the "Chinaman" term they will be slapped right in their faces for such insult. Ofc in internet they're safe to do so.

VWAndy's picture

Fiat funded stupid.

TheEndIsNear's picture

Wow, as a retired computer programmer, it must have been fun to write the program for all that. They are all undoubtedly coordinated from a central mainframe computer and are not autonomous.

Within less than a year, robot arms will be placing packages onto the sorting robots scan side up instead of human arms.

Yen Cross's picture

  China is a triple repythecated TURD!  Burried in 31+ $trillion in debt.

VWAndy's picture

They invented fiats Im told.

Yen Cross's picture

   China invented the, "Terracotta Army".

Nexus789's picture

Not as much debt as the US then which is around $70Trillion - government plus private and corporate. 

Dead Canary's picture

Hal, open the pod bay doors.

I'm sorry Dave. I can't do that.

Mr 9x19's picture

we may have not seen yet  A.I telling us to go fuck ourself away, but as we already have monkeys getting bones & steel bars hitting others population in europ and in the usa, i'm still confident about the prophecy of this movie.

GodSpeed_00's picture

The Chinese are also genetically engineering their children to improve IQ among other things. China will rule the world within a generation or two.

Vigilante's picture

I hope so..

Muzzies and degenerate lefties will face the full brunt of a resurgent China.

China is as alt-right as it gets albeit with a few pseudo-commie trappings

btw...China will be the biggest christian country within 20-30 years.

Dr. Bonzo's picture

The Chinese are also genetically engineering their children to improve IQ among other things. China will rule the world within a generation or two.

I don't know about that, but I do know their genetically engineering they're children to look like little two-legged baby belugas..... never seen so many little fat turds as this last Golden Week... these fat little midget morons are supposed to rule the world? Really?


totenkopf88's picture

"China will rule the world"- I've been hearin' that one for the last 3000 years

roddy6667's picture

The One Child Law had the unintended consequence of improving the gene pool. The least genetically fit almost always have more children than the people at the top of the food chain. By forcing everybody to limit themselves to one child, it removed a few million of undesirable children from the gene pool, atleast among the city dwellers. Rural Chinese were not restricted. 

In America and Europe, and everywhere else for that matter, the genetically undesirables are breeding like flies and the elite are having 2 children. When will this cause unrest?

Stinkytofu's picture

??? how does that improve the gene pool?


farmers and pheasants and ethnic minorities could have more'n one.

(rich folks - corrupt government officials - could pay the fines to have multiple spawn.)

it was the educated folks.....teachers, professors, doctors....that wound

up restricted to only one.



Stinkytofu's picture

but wait, there's a problem....


according to the other stories on this site, the chinese

government is super worried about maintaining employment

or risk pheasant uprisings.


ten million robots would put ten million fighting aged

man-boys out of work, and ready to march on beijing.


so what are we to believe?

dvfco's picture

well, the way you wrote it, the Chinese are worried about a bird uprising!

"Million Pheasant" - Maybe they could take them out with a Million Peasant uprising?!?

webmatex's picture

China is a centrally controlled society, they have a different agenda to western economies.

The agenda has been to make China an advanced tech economy.

The unskilled chinese worker can no longer compete with the Indonesians, Vietnamese, Burmese etc. so the state must increasingly invest in robotics to maintain price efficiency to also maintain a scientific and technical advantage over other countries.

Maintaining a huge trade surplus over the last 20 years has funded and enabled the investment in roads, trains, power generation, car plants, microchip fabrication etc.

In accepting the future of robotic production the state is hoping to continue its rise as a major tech economy and maintain that trade surplus.

The assumption that millions of unemployed chinese will revolt is probably misguided as many rural poor working in cities have to return to their farms when out of work.

Also they have ended the one child policy and so expect a rise in population and have probably 5 and 10 year planned for this event. Plans don't always pan out but (unlike our governments) at least they planned.

In the west governments have no plan for robotics except to allow the globalist carte blanch and cause more poverty and mass unemployment.

The CCP on the other hand may wish to mitigate unemployment problems by maintaining a tech advantage and budget surplus in order to fund urban development and minimize social unrest.

Robots are not the  problem - rather government contempt for the citizens, lack of future planning and economic reform are. There will be no robot debate.



Dr. Bonzo's picture

.....thin profit margins....

THIN profit margins???? WHo writes this shit????? You think the Chinese are flooding the world with money because their profit margin were thin? You think their employees were receiving handsome remuneration packages, paid vacations, medical, dental, housing, subsidies for the kids? Or that they had to shovel taxes to the EPA to comply with 1000s of arcane regulations regarding obscure vermin species? Seriously... who writes this shit...

The Chinese were making obscene profits... they want more obscene profits. Because it's never enough. Greed has no limits......




totenkopf88's picture

The US should aspire to China's environmental excellence- they actually pattern it after Love Canal.

SweetDoug's picture




No shit Dr. Bonzo!

All those workers marching into the office to ask for wages and getting them, because there are just no more unemployed dog-faces in China, eh!?

Bullshit. Complete, 100%  unadulterated bullshit.

They are installing robots to make even more profits! And get rid of the meat machines.

But! What is China going to do with 10's of millions, unemployed, drunken, horny, angry men, who haven't tossed themselves into the nets surrounding their work gulags, in a few years, that will be told to "Back to the rice paddy, Who Flung Dung!"

Revolution is coming, with the Automation Apocolypse!





Victor von Doom's picture

"What is China going to do with 10's of millions, unemployed, drunken, horny, angry men, who haven't tossed themselves into the nets surrounding their work gulags..."

Answer: Dragoon them into a 10 million man army to be sent against the enemies of glorious China, of course.

Silly people. Imagine believing "the people" would ever be given the chance to escape their slavery. Further proof that hope springs eternal only to lead you down the garden path to once more be bent over the barrel.

Pernicious Gold Phallusy's picture

Maybe when the robots do everything else, the work force will be employed creating calligraphic, illustrated copies of Mao's Little Red Book.

Debugas's picture

robots will pay taxes and government will direct the collected taxes to pay chinese jobless people universal basic income

Victor von Doom's picture

Universal basic income. To be paid to those at the front.