Rising labour costs in China is making the use of robots by large companies increasingly attractive

Largest Chinese developer employing robot servants

China’s largest property developer, Vanke, is recruiting robots to clean and guard its properties.

The developer said it wanted to implement automated services led by robots due to a labour shortage and rising wage bills in the country.

Chinese developers are currently struggling with lacklustre sales and tighter industry margins and Vanke is looking to implement services such as these to attract customers at a relatively low cost in a cutthroat market.

"We estimate that with today's growth and the changes to China's personnel structure, that at least 30 percent of our jobs will be replaced by robots," Vanke's chairman Wang Shi recently told a university forum in Hong Kong.

Wang said in August that eight robot chefs already worked in the restaurants that serve its developments, and it planned to open a hotel that will be managed by robots in the southern city of Shenzhen in 2017.

The company already rolled out a driverless car (pictured) and a patrol robot earlier this year, with plans to introduce a floor-sweeping robot at the end of this month.

"Nowadays some housing estates or commercial malls cover a large area and feature long paths," said Zhang Jinming, a member of staff involved in automating Vanke’s housing developments.

"Our driverless cars can solve the problem of transportation within roughly one km, and it won't involve any labour cost."

Vanke expects its total employees to jump from 40,000 to one million in a decade from now, but it has not said how many of these will be robots.

China's push for greater urbanisation of its populace has meant that younger workers are less willing to work in smaller cities which has resulted in a spike in wages across the country.

Foxconn, the world’s largest electronics manufacturer that produces iPhones, is also stepping up the adaptation of robotics to ease the labour crisis.

The company currently employs more than 1 million factory workers in China although its chairman, Terry Gou, has said the company is aiming to build a million robots.

The chief economist at the Bank of England recently said that 15 million UK jobs could be lost to robots in the future.

Last month, the University of Leeds said it was developing robots that could fix street lights and potholes that will be tested in Leeds city centre.

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