Foshan, a manufacturing hub in southern China’s Guangdong Province, recently made headlines by pledging to quadruple the revenue generated by its robotics-related sectors from 51.5 billion yuan (US$7 billion) in 2022 to 200 billion yuan in 2025, according to a set of guidelines released by the city.
According to the guidelines, issued by Foshan Bureau of Industry and Information Technology and aimed at fostering the city’s robotic industry, the expansion in output will come about in two phases.
Between 2022 and 2025, Foshan looks to double the robotics-induced revenue from 51.5 billion yuan to 100 billion yuan.
Specifically, industrial robot production should reach 135,000 units by 2025.
Foshan officials even set concrete goals on the number of top-tier firms that will emerge during this period.
At the end of 2025, the city will boast a topnotch robotic corporation with more than 10 billion yuan in annual revenue, three leading companies that make over 1 billion yuan every year, and 10 rising stars capable of raking in 100 million yuan a year.
In the next five years, Foshan plans to increase the income from robotics by twofold to 200 billion yuan, Southern Metropolis News, a Guangdong-based newspaper, reported yesterday.
Sloganeering is part of the Chinese political tradition. It’s commonplace to see officials make bold claims but occasionally fall short in the end.
Foshan derives part of its confidence from the previous results the city scored in nurturing a thriving robot scene.
Industrial chain surrounding heavyweights
Over the past few years, Foshan has become home to a host of manufacturing and industrial automation firms. Its position as one of the robotics hubs in China received a major boost after Midea, a Foshan-based white goods and electronics titan, acquired the German “Big Four” industrial robot powerhouse Kuka in 2017.
Midea and a handful of entrenched companies attracted a large number of suppliers to settle down in Foshan and over time, forged a complete industrial chain surrounding these heavyweights.
Official data shows that in 2022, robotics and related industries recorded 51.5 billion yuan in revenue, of which 5.1 billion came from the construction of smart robots.
This represented a 25% surge year on year.
Meanwhile, industrial robot output jumped 40% to 32,000 units in Foshan throughout 2022.
Although Foshan is well-placed to extend its advantage in the field of robotics, the city’s authorities pointed out in the guidelines that a series of issues continue to hinder the development of this space.
They include a lack of entrepreneurial capacity and resources, uneven development across the industrial chain, a somewhat disconnected supply chain, limited application scenarios and insufficient agglomeration of industrial chain players, among others.
In response, the city promises to address these issues, such as offering stronger policy support, rewarding role examples and encouraging entrepreneurship, among other measures.