Taiwan-based Hon Hai Technology Group, the world's largest contract electronics maker, has installed about 60,000 robots on its global production lines as part of its automation efforts to improve efficiency.

Hon Hai Executive Vice President Lu Fang-ming (呂芳銘) said earlier this week that the 60,000 robots have helped speed up the establishment of smart-factories at a time when the global industry is moving toward industry 4.0, which aims to incorporate the Internet of Things and strengthen automation.

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An assembler of iPhones and iPads for Apple Inc., Hon Hai currently has a broad production base in China, employing about 1 million workers.

The company, also known as Foxconn, has launched a project to set up 10-12 plants in India by 2020 and is also planning to invest in the U.S. market.

Speaking Tuesday at Computex Taipei, one of the world's largest information communications technology exhibitions, Lu said that with the installation of its 60,000 robots, Hon Hai now has five "lights-out" factories that are fully automated and require no onsite human presence.

Hon Hai, one of the Taiwanese companies that have been prioritizing automation, has been moving aggressively to lower its operating costs at its China factories as wages there continue to rise.

Lu said that Hon Hai has been making strong efforts to develop smart factories, which operate an industrial IoT ecosystem.

The company is also focused on cloud-based networks, big-data processing, the 5G network, 8K high-definition images, huge data storage capacity, and high power computing systems, he said.

By 2020, when the 5G technology is commercialized globally, the Internet will connect about 7 billion people worldwide, with 70 percent of the population using smartphones and 46 percent of devices connected through machines to machine functions, according to Lu.

With the development of smart factories, manufacturers will be able to upgrade their core technology and global competitiveness, which in turn will help boost production output, he said.

By 2025, the global economic value resulting from such developments will be US$11 trillion higher, of which US$3.7 trillion will be contributed by IoT-related industries, Lu forecast.