The typical U.S. auto worker makes around $30 per hour, plus benefits. In China, a worker would be hard-pressed to earn $250 in a month. That makes the Land of the Great Wall a very attractive location to build automobiles, but a recent rash of strikes by workers at Toyota and Honda facilities has lead to rising wages, a trend that Automotive News reports is leading to more automation.

China's traditionally inexpensive labor meant that automakers could afford to utilize humans where the same task would be accomplished by a robot in higher cost countries like the U.S. or Canada. Both strikes and the anticipated rise of China's currency are but a couple of reasons automakers have increased by a reported 20-30 percent spending on robots, sensors, frequency converters and conveyors. And companies like Siemens in Germany and Rockwell Automation here in the States are reaping the rewards of the increased spending on automation as AN reports that stock prices at those companies are steadily rising.

AN quotes Wenjie Ge of Nomura Securities as saying that wages in China will double in only five years, adding "the pace of automation in Chinese factories is faster than Japan in the 1980s." Some analysts feel that China's economy is growing so fast that lower cost nations like Vietnam will soon take some of China's manufacturing jobs. But since China has quickly become the largest market in the world for auto sales, there's still a lot of vehicles built in China for many years to come.

[Source: Automotive News – Sub. Req. | Image: AFP/Getty]


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