Despite China being the world’s second-largest economy, industrial robots have not played a big role in its workforce. In 2015, there were only 36 robots per 10,000 manufacturing workers. But the president of the China Machinery Industry Federation claims that the Chinese industry is going to reform and that by 2020 there will be 150 robots per 10,000 workers.

The International Federation of Robotics (IFR) said in a statement that China aims to increase sales of domestically produced industrial robots to 100,000 per year and boost the share of the domestic market held by Chinese robotic manufacturers to 50% by 2020.

The current industrial robotic market in China is led by four major companies: FANUC and Yaskawa (Japan), Kuka (Germany), and ABB (Sweden). But Chinese robotic manufacturers are growing fast, and according to IFR, the Chinese manufacturers’ share in the market has risen from 25% to 31% since 2013.

Although the Chinese robotic manufacture industry is still focused on the mid-range and low-end market, due to the revolution of capital, techniques and policies, the industry will keep developing.

A statement by China’s National Development and Reform Commission said the aging population and rising labor costs are the two main reasons the Chinese government is encouraging the development of the robotic industry and modernization of the manufacturing sector.

According to the 2016 Global Manufacturing Competitiveness Index, China’s labor force costs in 2015 was five times that of 2005.

First Editor: Olivia Yang
Second Editor: J. Michael Cole