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By Cai Muyuan/Joseph Catanzaro ( China Daily ) Updated: 2014-05-11 16:00:25

Lu ranks among the new generation of Chinese workers who, unlike their predecessors, feel they can pick and choose where they want to work, a choice that is relatively new in China.

Foxconn spokesman Liu Kun says young laborers such as Lu are backbone of the company's roughly 1 million employees on the Chinese mainland, and there is no shortage of applicants at present. But he says the writing is on the wall, as manufacturing jobs are becoming increasingly less appealing to young people.

"Robots are the direction of the future to liberate the workers from some very tough and very dull jobs," says Liu.

He refutes the suggestion that rising overheads from wage hikes in China have now reached a point where automation is financially more viable than human labor.

"The purpose of automation is not to decrease your laborers, but to make laborers want to work for you," he says.

Liu says the company has placed a lot of emphasis on improving the facilities on its campuses to meet the needs of a new generation of younger workers, including the creation of a support network for their psychological needs. But he says it's a difficult task, and some problems are beyond Foxconn's abilities to solve.

"Most of them are unmarried young men," he says. "It is hard to deal with their psychological needs, especially when it comes to sex."

 

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