China labour unrest to speed up automation trend

Confronted with rising wages and a shortage of labour, a supplier of car body frames to Honda Motor last month earmarked the equivalent of a half year's profit to triple the number of robots at its three Chinese plants. "The automation equipment industry is growing very, very fast. Sensors, frequency converters, conveyor belts, pneumatic systems, power tools -- you name it," said Raymond Tsang, head of consultancy Bain & Company's Greater China industrial practice.