China’s Factories Count on Robots as Workforce Shrinks (WSJ)

China’s population of workers aged 15 to 59 is starting to shrink – the number of the country’s workers peaked in 2010 at more than 900 million and will fall below 800 million by 2050. The average hourly labor cost of $14.60 in China’s coastal manufacturing heartland has more than doubled as a percentage of U.S. manufacturing wages, from roughly 30% in 2000 to 64% in 2015. China, in 2013, became the world’s largest market for industrial robots, surpassing all of Western Europe. In 2015, Chinese manufacturers bought roughly 67,000 robots, about a quarter of global sales, and demand is projected to more than double to 150,000 robots annually by 2018.

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