China robot sector raked in US$18b in first 10 months of 2023, official says

Continuous innovations in Chinese robotics, including in gear reducer, controller and servo system, have injected strong vigor into the sector.

China’s robotic industry posted revenue to the tune of 130 billion yuan (US$18.08 billion) in the first 10 months of this year, up 9.3% year on year, a senior Chinese official said at a recent conference.

Wang Hong, deputy director of equipment industry first division of China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), made the remark at the 2023 China Robot Industry Development Conference that opened on December 5.

In addition to the expansion in output, imports and exports of robotic products totaled US$2.66 billion during the same period, jumping 23% over a year earlier, Wang noted.

He added the industry is growing by leaps and bounds, with enormous potential.

China is the largest consumer of industrial robots across the world for 10 years in a row, representing 52% of the global demand in 2022, according to Song Xiaogang, secretary-general of China Machinery Industry Federation and executive director of China Robot Industry Alliance.

Song told the conference, held in Wuhu of Anhui Province, that Chinese-made industrial robots are the fastest-growing category among all robotic products over the past 10 years.

They make up more than half of the applications at home where indigenous robotic brands are involved.

Continuous innovations in Chinese robotics, including in gear reducer, controller and servo system, have injected strong vigor into the sector.

From high-speed and high-precision models to high-payload and highly reliable droids, China’s industrial robot manufacturers have gone into overdrive to enrich their product portfolios.

In the meantime, service and specialized robots have also kept pace with their industrial variants.

In the opinion of Wang, the official with MIIT, robotics are finding adoption on a wider scale.

A chief driver is exponential growth in new energy vehicle, lithium-ion battery, photovoltaic industries as well as a faster pivot in sanitary ware, ceramic and hardware segments.

They heralded an increase in the number of industrial robots on active duty to 1.5 million units, or more than a third of the global total.

Currently, China’s robot density, as measured by the number of robot installations per 10,000 employees in manufacturing, stands at 392, ranking fifth in the world, Wang explained.

Robot density is a key barometer of a country’s levels of automation, in particular in its industrial domain.

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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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