China’s industrial robot production plunged 7.4% year on year in April to 38,083 units, signaling the enduring impact of a slowing economy and Covid-19 shockwaves on the country’s real economy.
According to statistics from the National Bureau of Statistics, in the first fourth months of this year, manufacturers churned out a total of 142,160 industrial robots, down 4.4% over last year.
The contraction in production is partly attributable to the lingering effects of the pandemic as China steadily reels from the fallout of its now-abandonned “zero-Covid” policy.
Although production of industrial robots fell from the same period last year, sales somehow surged in the first quarter, according to an industry researcher.
Figures released by GGII, an automation- and industry-focused data provider, China’s industrial robot sales leaped 11.7% to 75,000 units in the first quarter.
This contrasted sharply with the results of some other market information providers, which point out that sales slipped 3.3% in the first quarter.
According to the GGII study, of all the manufacturers, established companies got off to a strong start.
Fanuc and Yaskawa saw revenue rocket 75.13% and 40.50% during this period, while domestic industrial robot leaders such as Estun (埃斯顿), Inovance (汇川科技) and Efort (埃夫特) recorded a jump of 22.53%, 29.06% and 37%, respectively, in earnings.
Industry insiders blamed the decline in robot production on a mix of factors including the pandemic, Russian-Ukraine war, and supply chain constraints.
Besides, production slowed in the first quarter as NEV, PV, lithium battery, 3C and fuel-powered automobile industries — the largest buyers of industrial robots — also took a hit and reported worse-than-expected results.
Going forward, the industrial robot sector will increasingly assume a pattern of bifurcation, with top players showing polarized performances and mid-tier firms awaiting a full recovery of general industry and lower-tier markets, said GGII.