ABB robotics, automation boss upbeat about transition-led growth in China

These booming spaces will sustain the momentum of robotics leaders like the Switzerland-headquartered ABB, as China looks to double its industrial robot density by 2025.

China’s economic transformation and industrial upgrade will provide more opportunities for automation and robotics suppliers the world over, said Sami Atiya, President of Robotics & Discrete Automation Business Area at ABB Group.

In a recent interview with state-owned Xinhua News Agency, Aitya said China accounted for more than half of the world’s robot installations in 2021, while Asia as a whole represented 74% of the total.

“China’s massive investment in industrial robotics has put the country in the top 5 ranking of robot density for the first time. Operational stock in China exceeded the 1-million-unit market in 2021,” Atiya was quoted as saying.

Amid the country’s drive to spur an industrial transition, several sectors are in greater need of robotics to automate production and fuel their growth.

“There remains significant potential for further growth in automation and in China. Growth is strong across all industries in China, with electric and electronics [segments taking the lead],” said Atiya.

He added the automotive industry also showed a strong recovery, mainly driven by electric vehicle manufacturing.

These booming spaces will sustain the momentum of robotics leaders like the Switzerland-headquartered ABB, as China looks to double its industrial robot density by 2025.

Robots are widely used in automation within China to upgrade the traditional manufacturing domain and improve its resilience and flexibility, Atiya told Xinhua.

As one of the pioneers in automation and robotics, ABB is committed to long-term investment in China, he noted.

The German-born businessman made a special mention during the interview of the ABB gigafactory in Pudong New Area of Shanghai, which began production in December last year.

The factory, which cost US$150 million to build and sits on 67,000 sqm of land, is ABB’s largest robot R&D, production and application base globally.

According to Atiya, the Shanghai plant is one of ABB’s three robot manufacturing centers in the world, dedicated to churning out robots tailored for the Chinese market.

However, he didn’t specify ABB’s customization program in the Xinhua report.

In the meantime, the group also worked closely with colleges and research institutes nationwide to promote innovation across its product line.

“China is one of the biggest robotics markets for ABB, and we continue to see many new opportunities for robotics and automation. So we work very closely with our customers to innovate, here in China and across the world,” said Atiya.

As China vigorously elevates its position in the global industrial chain, ABB will take advantage of this opportunity and involve itself more deeply in this shift, leading innovation in areas such as automobile, electronics, industrial logistics, pharmaceutical, new energy vehicle, e-commerce, catering and service industries, Atiya claimed.

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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, 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

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