The world's factory replaces men with machines

Updated 2017-08-02 17:01:19 Xinhua

Unlike college graduates who swarm into office buildings as white collar workers, Yang Jitian is a blue collar worker in Dongguan, southern China's Guangdong Province.

After graduating in July, he was trained as an electrical machine operator at a numerical control production line at a mold manufacturing company called Ensheng.

"University graduates were rare at assembly lines of plants in the past, but the situation is changing. Most of our classmates have now become blue collar," Yang says.


Known as the world's factory, Dongguan is a leading production base for garments and gadgets. One-fifth of the world's smartphones are produced there, so are one-tenth of the world's shoes.

Since China's opening and reform in the late 1970s, the city has attracted China's abundant low-end labor force to work on factory assembly lines.

However, the economic slowdown and growing labor costs have forced the city to seek transformation by introducing robots and machine operators.

Yang works in a workshop twice the size of a basketball court, at a constant temperature of 24 degrees Celsius.

The machines they operate are worth more than 1.5 million yuan (223,000 U.S. dollars) on average. Without dust and noise, all Yang needs to do is to type complicated codes correctly and monitor the running status of the machine.

This year, Ensheng company recruited seven college graduates from an international cooperation class at Dongguan Technician College, including Yang.

General manager Wu Bin says the limited competence of farmer-turned workers has greatly affected the company's development in fine manufacturing and processing.

"A worker broke a cutting head worth 400,000 yuan on the first day he joined the company," Wu says, adding that he plans to recruit more college graduates next year.

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