Tianjin boasts US$3b robotic sector; industrial robots make up 70% of output

It makes sense for Tianjin to embrace robotics and automation, as the traditional industrial powerhouse recorded slower economic growth over the past few years than other major cities.

Tianjin in northern China has come to boast a robotic industry valued at 21 billion yuan (US$3 billion), amid a shift toward automation and advanced manufacturing across the country, according to a recent conference.

At the 4th Tianjin Robot Conference, held on December 16 in the coastal city, representatives from industry alliances and businesses in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei city cluster discussed trends and opportunities in the industry.

To date, Tianjin, which is one of the nation’s four municipalities, now boasts close to 200 robotics-related firms, spanning upstream, midstream and downstream sections of the industrial chain.

They include manufacturers of core parts and robots per se as well as robotic integration players.

It makes sense for Tianjin to embrace robotics and automation, as the traditional industrial powerhouse recorded slower economic growth over the past few years than other major cities.

Its economy grew around 4% in 2022, as opposed to Shanghai’s 5.5%, Beijing’s 4.5% and Chongqing’s 6%.

Tianjin authorities have banked on a technological transition to set its economy, currently in the doldrums, on track to faster growth.

The blend of AI, big data and information technologies has accelerated the development of robotics and generated a wave of new opportunities for this booming industry.

Riding on this crest of wave, Tianjin now has attracted top players like Siasun (新松机器人) and served as a breeding ground for startups like remotely operated vehicle maker Sublue (深之蓝科技), parallel robot developer AtomRobot (阿童木机器人) and AGV producer Lonyu (朗誉科技).

Industrial robotics represents the bulk of all robotic applications nationwide, with their output comprising 50% of the industry’s total.

The proportion is sort of mirrored in Tianjin.

“Industrial robots make up 70% of Tianjin’s entire robotic industry output, higher than the domestic and global average,” said Gao Song, director of the Tianjin Robot Industry Association.

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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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