By Philip Elmer-DeWitt
October 31, 2011

Broke ground Saturday on a robotics research facility in Taiwan

Here’s one way to solve your labor problems.

Hon Hai Precision Industry, the company whose Foxconn division assembles most of the electronic products sold in the U.S. — including Apple’s (AAPL) iPhones and iPads — broke ground Saturday on a new R&D unit in Taichung, central Taiwan.

“The investment marks the beginning of Hon Hai’s bid to build an empire of robots,” the Central Taiwan Science Park authorities said in a statement.

The project was unveiled by Hon Hai chairman Terry Gou, who announced last August that he hoped to build 1 million robots to do the “simple work” now being done by Chinese workers.

Foxconn, which has been hit by a cluster of worker suicides in its Chinese assembly plants, plans to replace 500 000 workers with robots over the next three years according to AFP.

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