Shenzhen released a white book on the development of its robotic industry on April 7, showing that the number of robotic companies in 2022 exceeded 1,000 for the first time in history.
Robotic firms now totaled 1,018 as of last year, up 7.68% year on year, in the southern Chinese tech hub, the study shows. It was compiled and published by Shenzhen Institute of Advanced Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences.
During the same period, the revenue of Shenzhen’s industrial robot sector increased 8.38% over the previous year.
In terms of funding events, Shenzhen saw more equity financing deals than Beijing, Shanghai or other cities across the nation last year.
Non-industrial robot producers accounted for 51.84% of the mix, while industrial robot companies made up the remainder.
This is the first time that the sector of non-industrial robotics outstripped that of industrial robotics in scale.
Nonetheless, the sales of non-industrial robots still lagged that of industrial robots, recording a modest decline in percentage to 37.17%, roughly the same as the level in 2020.
“The number of Shenzhen’s robotic firms kept growing at a fast clip, with industrial robotics generating an appreciably bigger income,” said Bi Yalei, executive vice chairman and secretary-general of Shenzhen Robotics Association. “Advanced manufacturing clusters have a clear advantage.”
The white book also points out that in 2022, the city’s entire robotic industrial chain raked in 164.4 billion yuan (US$23.94 billion), up 3.9% from 158.2 billion yuan the year before.
The spike in the number of non-industrial robotic firms is a reflection of the close connection of robotics with thousands of industries, said Bi.
He added that more and more businesses are building robots for familiar applications on the basis of their know-how, so as to let easier-to-use robots create value in wider scenarios.
A breakdown of the revenue by segment suggests that system integration, basic skeleton and core parts represented 42.32%, 37.91% and 19.77%, respectively.
Driven by surging demand from lithium-ion battery industry and others, upstream suppliers of robotic basic skeleton such as Inovance (汇川技术) have reaped sales at scale, while mid-stream firms also reported a leap in revenue.
The proportion of downstream players among system integration companies fell somewhat, but they still constitute the bulk of the output contributed by industrial robots in Shenzhen.
In 2023, the city’s robotic space will face three opportunities, notably, growing needs from the new energy industry, automation upgrades as part of a digital transformation of manufacturing, and the development of diverse firms as a result of industrial clustering, the study finds.