The Foxconn Technology Group (Hon Hai Precision Industry Co.), an Apple Inc. supplier, has replaced 60,000 factory employees with robots, the MarketWatch reports citing Chinese media.

All of the workers are from the same factory and their layoff is part of a massive reduction in China’s Jiangsu province, where around 600 companies are reportedly mulling replacing employees with robots, the MarketWatch said on Wednesday.

Foxconn, as well as 34 other companies, spent 4 billion yuan (USD610 million) on artificial intelligence last year, according to local government officials cited by South China Morning Post last week.

According to the MarketWatch, Foxconn has been criticized for inadequate working conditions for years.

“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.” Foxconn statement.

Foxconn is primarily a contract manufacturer and its clients include major American, Finnish, Japanese, and Canadian electronics and information technology companies. Notable products that the company manufactures include BlackBerry,iPad,iPhone, iPod,Kindle,PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Nokia and Wii U. | PNA/Netijourn
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