Posts tagged ‘Guangdong’

27/05/2016

Foxconn replaces ‘60,000 factory workers with robots’ – BBC News

If manufacturers like Foxconn and high street companies like McDonald’s and, no doubt soon, offices too start replacing humans with robots, where will it all end? Where will all the ‘surplus’ people find jobs and pay.  And, eventually, who will be able to afford the iPhones, the hamburgers and so forth?  Won’t it be self-defeating in the long run for the employers with no customers or, at best, not enough customers to keep all the robots occupied and earning their keep.

“One factory has “reduced employee strength from 110,000 to 50,000 thanks to the introduction of robots”, a government official told the South China Morning Post.

Xu Yulian, head of publicity for the Kunshan region, added: “More companies are likely to follow suit.”

China is investing heavily in a robot workforce.

In a statement to the BBC, Foxconn Technology Group confirmed that it was automating “many of the manufacturing tasks associated with our operations” but denied that it meant long-term job losses.

“We are applying robotics engineering and other innovative manufacturing technologies to replace repetitive tasks previously done by employees, and through training, also enable our employees to focus on higher value-added elements in the manufacturing process, such as research and development, process control and quality control.

“We will continue to harness automation and manpower in our manufacturing operations, and we expect to maintain our significant workforce in China.”

Since September 2014, 505 factories across Dongguan, in the Guangdong province, have invested 4.2bn yuan (£430m) in robots, aiming to replace thousands of workers.

Kunshan, Jiangsu province, is a manufacturing hub for the electronics industry.

Economists have issued dire warnings about how automation will affect the job market, with one report, from consultants Deloitte in partnership with Oxford University, suggesting that 35% of jobs were at risk over the next 20 years.

Former McDonald’s chief executive Ed Rensi recently told the US’s Fox Business programme a minimum-wage increase to $15 an hour would make companies consider robot workers.

“It’s cheaper to buy a $35,000 robotic arm than it is to hire an employee who is inefficient, making $15 an hour bagging French fries,” he said.”

Source: Foxconn replaces ‘60,000 factory workers with robots’ – BBC News

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30/01/2016

China set to participate in India’s smart city mission starting from Solapur – Xinhua | English.news.cn

Solapur, which bore witness to Sino-Indian friendship in history, will soon see a new chapter of cooperation between both countries as China will get actively involved in the city’s smart city mission.

From January 27 to 28, a group of Chinese delegates led by Chinese Consul General Zheng Xiyuan, including representatives from two Chinese high-tech companies, paid a visit to this city.

They saw different projects including sewage treatment plants, textile mills, and sugar mills, and held meetings with local officials and entrepreneurs, exchanging ideas on the smart city planning and progress of Solapur and sharing experiences of both sides in sewage treatment.

The Chinese delegates received warm welcome from the Solapur people. Officials of Solapur showed great interest in the technology of the Chinese companies, and invited them to participate in the sewage treatment projects.

Jiang Konghua, marketing director of Guangdong Sino-Israeli Water Treatment Innovative Industrial Park Co., said he is determined to conduct a comprehensive survey based on the projects he has seen in Solapur, and find the best solution for the development of this city.

Solapur is a city located in the southeastern region of Indian state of Maharashtra. It is the hometown of Dr. Dwarkanath Kotnis, who fought with the Chinese people in WWII, and died in China.

On January 28, Solapur is declared as among the first group of twenty Indian cities to receive funds from the central government to start the smart city mission.

Ever since Narendra Modi took office as prime minister of India and proposed the smart city mission, the enlisted Indian cities have invited various countries to join their mission, including France, Germany, Sweden and the United States.

At the end of last year, Zhu Xiaodan, governor of China’s Guangdong Province, led a group of delegates to visit Maharashtra. During Zhu’s meeting with Devendra Fadnavis, chief minister of Maharashtra, they both agreed on the cooperation in the smart city mission, which led to this visit to Solapur.

Source: China set to participate in India’s smart city mission starting from Solapur – Xinhua | English.news.cn

12/07/2015

13 Million Guangdong Migrants Could Gain Permanent Residence By 2020 – China Real Time Report – WSJ

Faced with a persistent influx of rural workers, China’s most populous province plans to allow more migrant residents to settle permanently in its cities, in its latest effort to ease decades-old curbs on rural-urban migration.

Under new guidelines published this week, Guangdong authorities aim to grant local household registration to roughly 13 million migrant workers by 2020, allowing them to access public services—spanning housing, health-care, social security and education—that are typically reserved for urban residents.

Guangdong has often taken the lead in efforts to liberalize the hukou system, a national household-registration regime that curbs rural-urban migration by tying benefits like health care and pensions to a person’s place of birth. Experts say the system forces many rural migrants to live as second-class citizens in urban areas, aggravating social inequality while fueling tensions between locals and outsiders.

Hukou reforms are a pressing matter for Guangdong, a southern Chinese manufacturing hub that hosts the country’s largest transient population. Among its roughly 110 million residents, more than 24 million are migrants from other regions, while another 10.6 million have relocated within the province.

“Reforming the household-registration system will speed up our province’s urbanization process, and facilitate the coordinated development of the Pearl River Delta region,” Peng Hui, deputy director-general of Guangdong’s public security department, told a news briefing this week.

As part of the reforms, provincial officials will aim to “equalize” the provision of public services and ensure “balanced” economic development between rural and urban areas, according to the new guidelines.

China has used the hukou system since the 1950s to keep people from moving to the cities and forming the sort of slums that plague other developing nations. In recent decades, however, rural migrants have increasingly bucked the system to seek better opportunities in urban areas, without approval to live there.

Beijing, for its part, has since changed tack and pushed to urbanize its population of nearly 1.4 billion people, of which about 45% still in live in rural areas. But experts say the government must speed up its dismantling of the hukou system, warning that social tensions could fester and even boil over in the coming decade as China’s “floating population” of more than 250 million continues to expand.

Last year, Beijing pledged some changes to the hukou system, with restrictions to be lifted first in small towns. More stringent requirements will remain on those who want to live in larger cities, which are generally more attractive to migrants.

 

Guangdong’s plan follows a similar approach. Provincial officials say they plan to “fully liberalize” settlement rules in small, county-level cities and so-called “administratively designated towns,” where migrants with legal and stable places of residence will be allowed to apply for permanent residency.

via 13 Million Guangdong Migrants Could Gain Permanent Residence By 2020 – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

08/05/2015

For returning migrant workers, a changed and desolate homeland|Society|chinadaily.com.cn

As the first wave of Chinese migrant workers return to live in their hometowns, they may find that life has changed dramatically from when they first left, a PhD student in Shanghai University revealed in his journal published in The Paper.

For returning migrant workers, a changed and desolate homeland

Rural areas tend to evoke empty villages where the working population has left, but the fact is that more and more middle-aged migrant workers are coming back home in recent years, said Wang Leiguang, a native of Luotian county of Hubei province who impressed readers with his “Journal of returning to hometown” during the Spring Festival.

Ever since China’s reform and opening-up in the late 1970s, waves of farmers left their land and worked in cities, where they could enjoy higher incomes but faced various disadvantages.

After working in cities for decades, they feel tired and no longer welcome in the city. Most of them have built new houses in their hometowns and have some savings. More importantly, they have to look after their grandchildren, as Wang elaborated in his article.

The year-on-year growth rate in the number of migrant workers has been declining since 2010, said a report released by the National Bureau of Statistics in late April. Since 2004, China has encountered a continuous labor shortage and many migrant workers aged above 50 have returned to their hometowns, as Wang has noticed in his hometown, Luotian.

However, returning home doesn’t mean a return to farming. Since most young laborers moved to the cities, the remote farmlands have become wastelands no one wants to reclaim. Meanwhile machines have replaced manual work in the remaining farms. Even so, many don’t really care about the harvest and some even give up their land.

City life has apparently estranged them from the farmland.

Meanwhile, the pace of urbanization in China during the past 25 years has seen the decline of many villages. As people have drifted away to urban areas, the countryside has become stripped of community and culture.

Unlike twenty years ago when villagers could enjoy various activities such as temple fairs, outdoor movies and opera performances, there are almost no cultural activities these days, as rural people left for cities to find better-paid jobs. When those migrant workers return, they find that villagers have less contact with each other, even between neighbors. Most of them stay at home watching TV.

Rural life is lonely and dull. Wang described the common sight of an old man or woman sitting in the sun at the gate every day, greeting acquaintances when they pass by, as if waiting for death to come.

Increasing social bonds may be a solution to fight the alienation in the countryside, Wang suggested. He found that villagers communicated more and felt happier during their efforts to build a road.

Zhou Jinming, an agricultural official with the Yulin government of Shaanxi province, suggested that the government should focus on supporting large villages by improving conditions, such as setting up libraries and clinics.

via For returning migrant workers, a changed and desolate homeland|Society|chinadaily.com.cn.

26/02/2015

A Shot at Solving China’s Angry Worker Problem – China Real Time Report – WSJ

Labor unrest is on the rise in China and likely to increase as the leadership grapples with a dangerous combination of an economic slowdown and the lack of effective institutions to cope with worker unrest.

A new set of regulations put forward by one province offers a potential solution while at the same time illustrating the difficulty the Communist Party faces in effectively addressing workers’ grievances.

Regulations for “collective contracts” adopted by the Standing Committee of the People’s Congress in southern China’s Guangdong Province took effect on January 1, 2015, giving employees more leeway to initiate collective bargaining with their employers.  Observers in the government, chambers of commerce, the state-backed All-China Federation of Trade Unions and workers’ rights organizations will be watching to see whether the new rules represent a meaningful step forward in advancing labor rights.

The need for rules that would allow China’s workers to negotiate better conditions is great.  Labor disputes are the most prevalent form of social conflict in the country, according to the Chinese Academy of Social Science’s annual report on social trends. Labor incidents during the fourth quarter of 2014 rose to 569, more than three times the number in the previous year, according to the China Labor Bulletin (CLB), which finds that 87% of  workers’ demands are for “wage arrears, pay increases and compensation.”

In 2014, workers went on strike around the country in a range of industries, from manufacturing to teaching to transportation.

The causes of the unrest varied accordingly: In April, for example, the majority of workers at a Taiwanese-owned factory in Guangdong that makes products for Adidas struck to protest the company’s failure to pay its 40,000 workers their full social security and housing allowances. The strike, which cost an estimated $27 million in loses to the factory, drew large numbers of police into the streets. Workers later accused local officials and company executive of using force to get them to return to work, though the government denied any force was used.

In December, thousands of teachers went on strike in six cities or counties in Heilongjiang to protest low salaries and the required contributions to pension plans; in Guangdong, teachers’ strikes protested low monthly salaries that were below what the government had promised.

And earlier this year, taxi drivers walked out in the cities of Nanjing, Chengdu, Shenyang, and Qingdao to protest local government limitations on taxi fares and smartphone apps that allow passengers to negotiate fares.

As the CLB notes, the majority of enterprise trade unions are controlled by and represent the interests of management. ACFTU officials, meanwhile, are “essentially government bureaucrats with little understanding of the needs of workers or how to represent them in negotiations with management.” The state-sanctioned trade union, CLB adds, “still sees itself as bridge or mediator between workers and management rather than as a voice of the workers.”

In recent years, the government emphasized mediation as a way to solve labor disputes and protect social stability, followed by what University of Michigan expert Mary Gallagher has called a “more interventionist stance” that involved government officials helping to settle disputes typically in favor of workers.  All the while, Gallagher writes, collective organizations outside the ACFTU have been restricted to prevent any workers’ collective action from growing into “anything long-term, programmatic, or institutional.”

via A Shot at Solving China’s Angry Worker Problem – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

20/02/2015

Big data reveals movement of New Year travelers – China – Chinadaily.com.cn

Beijing and other first-tier cities in China remain the major sources of outflux of passengers in this Spring Festival travel rush but the capital is also one of the top three destinations for the influx of travelers, according to search engine giant Baidu.com.

Big data reveals movement of New Year travelers

This is an indication that an increasing number of people who work or study away from their hometowns are choosing to invite their families to celebrate Spring Festival at big cities rather than head home.

According to the latest data until Monday morning, the top five cities that saw most outflow of passengers were Beijing, Shenzhen, Shanghai, Dongguan and Guangzhou, where there are huge number of migrant workers.

The top five cities of influx of travelers were Chongqing, Ganzhou in Jiangxi province, Beijing, Yulin in Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, and Fuyang in Anhui province. Apart from Beijing, the other four cities have been major sources of labor flow over the years.

An interactive map by baidu.com shows China’s top 10 cities with the largest outflux of travelers.

Big data reveals movement of New Year travelers

The trips from Shanghai to Lu’an, and Fuyang, two cities in East Anhui province, were the two busiest travel routes, the data showed.

Beijing to Zhoukou, Central Henan province, and Beijing to Harbin, Northeast Heilongjiang province, were also on the list of the 10 busiest travel routes. The other busy travel routes on the list include Shenzhen to Chongqing in Southwest China, and to Huanggang, Central Hubei province.

The list showed the difference of the sources of migrant workers in the three first-tier cities.

Baidu has been tracking the mass movement of people for this year’s Spring Festival, or the Lunar New Year, since February 7, three days after the kick-off of the annual Spring Festival travel rush, also known as chunyun in Chinese.

The Ministry of Transport is anticipating an overall holiday-season passenger flow of more than 2.8 billion person-times in this year’s Spring Festival travel, a 3.4 percent growth over 2014.

The interactive map of the research, which can be seen at http://qianxi.baidu.com/, is updated hourly, and has been logging the locations in which data requests were made to its maps service.

via Big data reveals movement of New Year travelers – China – Chinadaily.com.cn.

03/02/2015

China says 90 percent of cities failed to meet air standards in 2014 | Reuters

Nearly 90 percent of China’s big cities failed to meet air quality standards in 2014, but that was still an improvement on 2013 as the country’s “war on pollution” began to take effect, the environment ministry said on Monday.

The Ministry of Environmental Protection said on its website (www.mep.gov.cn) that only eight of the 74 cities it monitors managed to meet national standards in 2014 on a series of pollution measures such as PM2.5, which is a reading of particles found in the air, carbon monoxide and ozone.

Amid growing public disquiet about smog and other environmental risks, China said last year it would “declare war on pollution” and it has started to eliminate substandard industrial capacity and reduce coal consumption.

In 2013, only three cities – Haikou on the island province of Hainan, the Tibetan capital of Lhasa and the coastal resort city of Zhoushan – met the standards.

They were joined in 2014 by Shenzhen, Huizhou and Zhuhai in southeast Guangdong province, Fuzhou in neighboring Fujian and Kunming in the southwest.

Of the 10 worst-performing cities in 2014, seven were located in the heavy industrial province of Hebei, which surrounds the capital, Beijing, the ministry said. The cities of Baoding, Xingtai, Shijiazhuang, Tangshan, Handan and Hengshui, all in Hebei, filled the top six places.

via China says 90 percent of cities failed to meet air standards in 2014 | Reuters.

27/01/2015

New highway encircles stubborn homeowners – Chinadaily.com.cn

A room with a 360-degree road view

New highway encircles stubborn homeowners

If you can’t build through it, build around it – city planners seem to have taken this advice quite literally.

Motorway builders encircled the homes of three Chinese families with a four-lane flyover after they refused to make way for the bulldozers.

Demolition teams in Guangzhou had planned to destroy the houses in order to connect the city’s road network to a recently opened tunnel under the Pearl River.

A photograph of the so-called “nail houses” – so named because they proved difficult to move–completely surrounded by the flyover, proved popular on the Chinese Internet this week.

Some Internet users joked that authorities had given locals homes “with a 360-degree road view”.

via New highway encircles stubborn homeowners[1]- Chinadaily.com.cn.

04/12/2014

Family support planned for aging population – China – Chinadaily.com.cn

China will support the role of family in providing care to the elderly as the country responds to the rapid aging of its population, a top health and population official of China said during the 2014 World Family Summit.

“China will actively respond to population aging and include it as part of China’s national plan for development,” Li Bin, minister of the National Health and Family Planning Commission, said during the summit, which concluded on Wednesday in Zhuhai, Guangdong province. “The government will help families increase their capacity for elder care and provide more training to them.”

To cope with its rapidly aging population, China will establish social security and health support networks for the elderly and provide a better environment to serve the elderly, she said.

The government will create policies targeted at the development of families and invest more human resources to help families guard against potential risks, she said in a speech during the summit.

The number of people aged 60 or above in China reached 202 million last year, accounting for nearly 15 percent of the country’s population, according to a report released by the commission in November.

More than 20 percent of families in China had at least one member aged 65 or older in 2010, and almost half of all people aged 65 or above live with their children, according to the report. Most elderly Chinese are still cared for by their families, the report said.

A severe shortage of quality elderly-care institutions and traditional beliefs are the major reasons family members mostly care for their own elderly, experts said.

via Family support planned for aging population – China – Chinadaily.com.cn.

19/10/2014

China’s Workers Are Getting Restless – Businessweek

China does not have large independent labor unions, yet the world’s second-largest economy has witnessed an increasing number of worker strikes over the past year.

Police guard outside the Yue Yuan shoe factory after workers returned to work in Dongguan, China on April 28 following a two-week strike

According to an Oct. 14 report from the Hong Kong-based watchdog group China Labour Bulletin (CLB), the number of strikes and worker protests in the third quarter of 2014 was double the number of labor actions recorded in the same period last year: From July to September this year, the watchdog group recorded 372 strikes and worker protests across China, compared with 185 incidents over those months last year.

What’s more, the habit of organizing collective action—often through social media—is spreading beyond China’s traditional manufacturing hub of southern Guangdong province. While the number of strikes in Guangdong province has remained roughly the same, unrest has intensified in inland China. In 2013, Guangdong accounted for 35 percent of recorded labor actions vs. 19 percent this year.

Half of all recorded worker strikes and protests arose from disputes over late or unpaid wages—perhaps symptoms of economic troubles hitting manufacturers as well as tightening credit in China, according to CLB.

Also notable is the uptick in strikes led by construction workers, from just four demonstrations last summer to 55 this summer. Amid a slumping housing market, new home prices in August tumbled in 68 of 70 Chinese cities monitored by the government. As the CLB report explains, “Developers are saddled with declining sales, weaker credit availability, and continued pressure from local governments to buy land. In these situations, it is the construction workers who are always the last to be paid.”

China’s only official union is the government-linked All China Federation of Trade Unions, which lacks credibility with most workers. To date, it has only ever formally leant support to one worker strike, according to records reviewed by the liberal American Prospect magazine. Yet Chinese workers are increasingly organizing within their individual workplaces to press for higher wages, timely payments, and social security benefits. So far, these individual strikes have not coalesced into a broader, coordinated movement, which almost certainly would incur a speedy government crackdown.

via China’s Workers Are Getting Restless – Businessweek.

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