China’s Robotics Industry Facing Challenges

Published by , September 28, 2015 11:30 am

(Yibada) — China’s ambition to develop a national robotics industry is facing a challenge as robotics firms grapple with the technology gap between Chinese and foreign industrial automation firms, the weakening economy, and a slump in the automotive sector. Chinese government policies on robotics development have driven low-margin, low-cost companies to jump into the bandwagon, but without having a technology of their own. They compete on price alone.

According to the International Federation of Robotics, the number of Chinese-made robots surged from an estimated 3,000 in 2012 to 15,000 in 2014, when the government started introducing proposals for automated manufacturing. Although government subsidies have sparked an explosion of Chinese robotics firms — from 200 to 815 in two years — only 30 of those firms have done meaningful research and development, according to Wang Baomin, senior analyst at Shenzhen-based consulting firm MIR Industry.

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