China’s industrial robot production totaled 118,200 units in the second quarter of this year, up 2.55% year on year, says a study by an industrial research institute.
According to GGII, a robot and automation-focused business intelligence provider, in the first half of this year, China churned out 222,100 industrial robots, an increase of 9.71% over last year.
The sales volume of industrial robots in H1 and Q2 stood at 76,900 and 151,900 units, up 10.24% and 10.98% respectively from the same period last year.
The spike in both supply and demand is attributable to the fast expansion of new energy vehicle and photovoltaic industries, two big buyers of industrial robots, GGII data reveals.
In particular, demand for robots with a large payload has surged, although GGII did not release the data to back up the claims.
A sales number breakdown suggests a pattern of bifurcation among leading overseas and domestic manufacturers of industrial robots.
Major foreign brands have maintained their strong growth momentum in the mainland Chinese market in H1.
Fanuc generated 63.9 billion yen, or US$450 million, from the sales of robots, up 45.23%.
Yaskawa, another Japanese rival considered one of the “Big Four” industrial robot makers, raked in 35.64 billion yen, or US$250 million, up 47.92%, in the six months from December 2022 to May 2023.
ABB, for its part, reported revenue of US$475 million from its robot business in the six months ending in June, jumping 24.35% over the previous year.
Apart from these top players, however, second- and third-tier overseas suppliers have felt the squeeze, with sales sliding to varing degrees.
Established Chinese industrial robot producers such as Estun (002747.SZ) and Inovance (300124.SZ) have shown strong market performance, although GGII didn’t reveal their financials in H1.
Likewise, mid-tier or smaller manufacturers have seen their dwindling revenue during the same priod.
GGII predicted that amid the global economic downturn, the order value for industrial robots worldwide will continue to fall in the second half of this year.
This will lead to intensifying competition between indigenous and overseas manufacturers.
For the whole year, sales volume of industrial robots in China is projected to grow 9.90% to 333,000 units, GGII says.