6 out of 10 industrial robots sold in China could be homegrown in 2033, expert says

When more than 90% of the sales is generated by domestic firms, even foreign robot vendors might have to turn to domestic suppliers for access to core components, Yang explained.

The ratio of China’s homegrown industrial robots to imported variants is expected to reach six to four, with shipments of Chinese-made robots totaling 350,000 to 450,000 units in the next 10 years, a robotics industry veteran said recently.

Zhou Guangxing, deputy general manager of STEP (新时达), a leading industrial robot manufacturer, told a roundtable in late December 2023 that currently, the ratio of domestically built robots to imports stood at four to six.

It’s unclear why Chinese media chose to report on the event only recently.

Another speaker, Yang Lin, who is executive deputy general manager of industrial robot producer Huashu (华数机器人), issued the bolder prediction that eight out of 10 robots sold in China in the next 10 years will be made at home.

When more than 90% of the sales is generated by domestic firms, even foreign robot vendors might have to turn to domestic suppliers for access to core components, Yang explained.

China has gone into overdrive to elevate the levels of automation and digitalization across its industrial sectors, with vigorous adoption of robotics at its core.

The nation has risen rapidly in the global hierarchy of industrial robot penetration, narrowing its gap with frontrunners like Germany and Japan.

The latest figures released by International Federation of Robotics (IFR) show that China’s industrial robot density, as measured by the number of robot installations per 10,000 workers, stands at 392.

Worldwide, China ranks fifth, after South Korea (1,012), Singapore (730), Germany (415) and Japan (397).

Data from GGII, a robot- and automation-focused information portal, indicated that in 2023, the market share of domestic industrial robot makers rose to around 50% from 24% in 2013.

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Ni Tao

Ni Tao is the founder and editor-in-chief of cnrobopedia. Prior to cnrobopedia, he had a full decade of experience with a major state-run English-language newspaper as a tech reporter and opinion writer. He is also a communications specialist, having provided consultancy services to established firms like Siemens, Philips, ABinBev, Diageo, Trip.com Group (Nasdaq: TCOM, HK: 9961), Jianpu Technology (NYSE: JT) and a handful of domestic startups. A graduate of Fudan University, he writes widely about China's business and tech scenes and other topics for global publications including South China Morning Post, SupChina, The Diplomat, CGTN, Banking Technology, among others, and tries to impart his experience to students at Fudan University Journalism School, where he is a part-time lecturer. When he's not writing about robotics, you can expect him to be on his beloved Yanagisawa saxophones, trying to play some jazz riffs, often in vain and occasionally against the protests of an angry neighbor. Get in touch with him by dropping a line at nitao0927@gmail.com.

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