Shenzhen to push ahead with robotics, AI as new growth engines in 2024

Under the plan, the city will redouble its efforts to explore breakthrough technologies, such as those at the intersection of large language model and smart general-purpose robotics.

Shenzhen will promote robotics and Embodied AI as two of the city’s new growth engines in 2024, the metropolis’s government said recently.

Lawmakers of the southern boomtown convened on January 30 to review the local government’s annual work report in 2024.

According to the report, the city is to cultivate a handful of emerging sectors including physical robotics, synthetic bioengineering, brain science and health, and quantum information to fuel the local economy.

Notably, the report puts forward the goal for the aforementioned “strategic” new segments to add 1.5 trillion yuan (US$211.34 billion), or 7%, to Shenzhen’s gross domestic product in 2024.

Image credit: Depositphotos

Shenzhen is well positioned to dive deep into robotics, having already established one of the nation’s most complete robotics-themed industrial chains.

Its Nanshan and Baoan districts are home to the most robotic firms, with Baoan boasting a third of the city’s total.

Additionally, Nanshan and Baoan both took 34% of Shenzhen’s annual revenue generated by robotics.

Crucial driver of growth

Apart from these two districts, the rest of Shenzhen has also gone into overdrive in recent years to consolidate its toehold in robotics.

This resolve was in evidence at the 2024 Shenzhen Robot Industry Conference on January 26.

Shenzhen attaches huge importance to strategic emerging sectors and industries of the future, Wang Wenhua, an official with Shenzhen’s Bureau of Industry and Information Technology, at the conference.

Wang explained that intelligent robotics is not just among some 28 industries deemed significant on the city’s agenda.

Instead, it is also a crucial driver of high-quality development of other realms, he noted.

Image credit: Depositphotos

The year 2023 witnessed the explosive growth of generative AI. OpenAI’s introduction of ChatGPT blended with humanoid robots, heralding the arrival of an era of Embodied AI.

Amid a surge in local innovations modeled after ChatGPT, Shenzhen released in Maybe 2023 an Application Action Plan to accelerate the pace of AI development in the city.

Under the plan, the city will redouble its efforts to explore breakthrough technologies, such as those at the intersection of large language model and smart general-purpose robotics.

What’s more, local authorities will support local research institutes and companies to establish at least five joint AI labs, and accelerate the construction of a provincial-level humanoid robot innovation center in Guangdong.

Shenzhen is poised to draw on the strengths inherent in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area — a world-class manufacturing powerhouse — to promote the application of humanoid robots at scale.

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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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