Foxconn to build ‘an empire of robots’ by Philip Elmer-DeWitt @FortuneMagazine October 31, 2011, 12:07 PM EST E-mail Tweet Facebook Google Plus Linkedin Share icons Broke ground Saturday on a robotics research facility in Taiwan Image: Honda.com 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.