Guangdong on track to boast US$11b robotic sector by 2025, official plan says

The plan aims to promote the smart robotics industry in the province between 2023 and 2025, with service robots expected to generate 20 billion yuan in the intervening years.

Guangdong of southern China will record an annual revenue of 80 billion yuan (US$11.11 billion) from smart robotics by 2025, a high-level official document says.

Guangdong’s Department of Industry and Information Technology recently issued an action plan together with another four local government agencies, Chinese media reported yesterday.

The plan aims to promote the smart robotics industry in the province between 2023 and 2025, with service robots expected to generate 20 billion yuan in the intervening years.

Another 50 billion yuan will come from UAV and unmanned boat manufacturers across the province, the document says.

Guangdong is a UAV powerhouse, as the province is home to industry leaders such as DJI (大疆创新), XAG (极飞科技) and Meituan UAS (美团无人机).

UAV firms in Guangdong numbered 17,205 as of 2023, more than Shandong (5,975) and Jiangsu (5,877) combined.

The action plan, however, didn’t explain where the remaining 10 billion yuan will come from.

Aside from drone and service robotics, Guangdong also looks to increase its annual industrial robot output to 180,000 units in 2025 from 160,000 in 2022.

The province has ranked first for three consecutive years nationwide in terms of industrial robot production in 2022.

‘Robot plus’ firms

In recent years, Guangdong has stepped up its drive to spur the application of robotics — which is designated as an emerging sector of strategic importance in the document — across an array of scenarios.

By 2025, as the plan goes, the province is to organize and implement at least 500 demonstration projects in smart manufacturing, as well as cultivate a slew of exemplary “robot plus” firms.

Literally, the term “robot plus” refers to the practice of empowering traditional sectors with robots, reducing workload while bolstering productivity.

Seventeen Chinese ministries and ministry-level commissions released a high-profile “robot plus” application action plan in January 2023, in a bid to accelerate the adoption of robots and unleash their economic value.

As one of the nation’s most prosperous regions, Guangdong is in a good position to leverage its strengths as an innovation hub in robotics.

Its strengths lie not just in the sheer size of its robotic space, but also in an all-encompassing industrial chain.

Companies fall broadly into three layers of this hierarchy, from the production of robots per se and core parts to integration and application.

Data from the provincial department of industry and information technology suggests that the region’s smart robot industrial cluster raked in 61.64 billion yuan in 2022, up 15.4% year on year.

During the same period, the valued added contributed by robotics advanced 12.1% over a year earlier to 11.14 billion yuan.

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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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