Technology device manufacturer Foxconn will not be reducing its workforce, despite a recent report saying that it's planning to do just that.
Earlier on Tuesday, news outlet Reuters reported that Foxconn, which has produced a wide range of devices, including Apple's iPhone and Microsoft's game consoles, will reduce its workforce as it deals with shrinking revenue gains and increasing wages across China, where it produces most of its products. Louis Woo, special assistant to chairman Terry Gou, reportedly said "yes" to Reuters when asked if the company will cut employees.
In a statement to CNET, however, Foxconn said that the report is "completely inaccurate and totally without foundation," adding that the company is still recruiting employees and will maintain the more than 1 million employees it has worldwide.
"As we continue to increase the application of automation in our operations, the magnitude of our employee recruitment is expected to decrease in the years ahead, but we have no plans to reduce our workforce numbers now or anytime in the future," a company spokeswoman said Tuesday. "In addition, our company is confident that we will continue to achieve sustained business growth in the years to come."
Foxconn is one of the world's largest employers and produces a wide range of technology goods. At peak times, the company employs about 1.3 million people. While Foxconn has grown over the last several years, due in large part to its partnership with Apple to build iPhones and iPads, its revenue growth has declined from double-digit gains several years ago to single-digit increases in the last two years.
In addition, Foxconn's margins are being squeezed by increases to the company's employment costs. After Apple brought in the Fair Labor Association in 2012 to inspect its supplier partners, the organization, which aims to ensure that workers at production facilities around the world are treated fairly, discovered issues in Foxconn facilities, including low wages in some cases and too much overtime in others. Foxconn has since cleaned up many of the problems and increased wages, and also seen its overall expenses rise.
In response,over the last couple of years that he believes the use of robotics and other automation techniques could save on labor costs and potentially increase output. The statements have been viewed as a harbinger of people losing jobs to robots.
Foxconn acknowledged to CNET that it's "investing in the automation of many of the manufacturing tasks associated with our operations, applying robotic engineering and other innovative manufacturing technologies." However, the spokeswoman said that the addition of automation to its production process will not negatively impact employees and may bolster its employee ranks.
The technology, the Foxconn spokeswoman said, will "enable our employees to focus on high value-added elements in the manufacturing process."