China industrial robot output ends 6-month decline to add 3.4% in Dec 2023

Despite the overall expansion, the industrial robot sector has been marked by a pattern of bifurcation, where top players have largely kept their momentum and grown in size.

China’s industrial robot production gained 3.4% year on year to 41,980 units in December 2023, ending a six-month losing streak for the nation’s battered industrial robot industry, the country’s top statistician said.

Data released by National Bureau of Statistics yesterday shows that throughout last year China manufactured 429,534 industrial robots, down 2.2% from a year earlier.

Demand for industrial robots picked up, albeit at a slower pace.

A study by GGII, a robot and automation-focused information portal, finds that in the first three quarters of 2023, sales of industrial robots in China rose 6.21% to 233,800 units.

GGII estimated that full-year sales could hit 316,000 units, up 4.29% over the previous year.

Despite the overall expansion, the industrial robot sector has been marked by a pattern of bifurcation, where top players have largely kept their momentum and grown in size.

Estun (埃斯顿) and Inovance (汇川技术), two industrial robot and automation giants, both forecasted their sales to top 20,000 units in 2023.

With Efort (埃夫特), also a domestic industrial robot maker, crossing the 1,000-unit-a-year sales mark, China now has four companies with annual sales in excess of 10,000 units, the other being TopStar (拓斯达), headquartered in southern Guangdong.

Meanwhile, mid- and bottom-tier manufacturers have been buffeted by headwinds, encountering a shortage of orders, capital and supply chain challenges.

Amid macroeconomic uncertainties, China’s industrial robot industry could be in for a new round of shakeup this year, as M&As, consolidations and spin-offs for listing are expected, GGII predicted.

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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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