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Mechanization to replace manual labor

(People's Daily)

16:32, May 09, 2012

A sliced noodles restaurant in Shangqiu city of Henan province with a nearly two-meter-high "Ultraman" robot standing at the door. The robot is "invited" to slice the noodles. (Photo by Wei Wenhui)

Edited and translated by People's Daily Online

Simple labor will gradually be replaced by machines and China is ushering in an age of accelerated mechanization.

In the Sinopec Beijing Yanshan Company, only several workers are leisurely monitoring the equipment at a big manufacturing shop. The principal of the company told the reporter that whether in the crude manufacturing shop or ethylene manufacturing shop, every workshop had needed more than one hundred workers before but after remolding the equipment, workers only check the running state of the equipment.

Now there are many such producing shops in China. Busy workers have been replaced by advanced production lines and professional production control software.

Mechanization also rose in the field of agriculture. Shishou city of Hubei is located in the Jianghan Plain. Now it is the season of transplanting the semilate rice but few peasants can be seen in the rice field. A peasant named Liu Guangwu said that mechanization has been realized from the cultivation to harvest and only pesticide-spraying needs manual operation. The amount of work in the rice field now has reduced to one-third of the past.

Rise of labor cost and difficulty in hiring workers turn enterprises to machines.

"There are two reasons why machines replaced manual labor. On one hand, the development of equipment manufacturing industry and information technology provided hardware support. On the other hand, the more direct reason is that the labor cost rose sharply and the machine has a higher efficiency and lower cost than manual labor," said Yao Tongxin, vice director of Peking University's China Center for Strategic Studies.

What influence will the acceleration of mechanization bring to China's industrial restructuring and economic growth?

Yao said that in the context of rising labor cost, it is an inevitable trend of China's economic structural adjustment that the machine replaces manual labor. It can help to improve the efficiency and international competitiveness of manufacturing industry.

Fan Zhiyong, vice professor of the School of Economics Renmin University of China, said that the acceleration of mechanization will bring significant and profound influence to China's economic structure. The mechanization will make traditional manufacturing industry and even agriculture industry and some service industry transform from labor-intensive industry to capital-intensive industry.

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