How long will it take for China to make robots?

According to the data, in 2013, China surpassed Japan and became the first industrial robot market in the world. At present, the market size has accounted for one third of the world. Especially in factories with high value-added products such as automobiles and electronic products, it is becoming more and more popular.


Due to the economic downturn caused by Sino-US trade frictions, there is a trend to postpone investment, but the number of robots owned by China per 10,000 workers is 1/3 of that of Japan. In the long run, the market is expected to expand further.

"Per capita productivity has reached 2.6 times in five years," said Huang Gang, CEO of Shanghai Cambridge Technology, which manufactures communications equipment such as routers. Automation of the plant will start in 2011. On a fully unmanned production line, which looks like human arms and can complete complex movements, a large number of sensors and cameras are installed. In order to transfer products smoothly, an automatic control system was introduced, and a system was formed to cope with the shortage of labor force.

In 2018, the scale of investment in intelligent manufacturing increased by 46% over the previous year, reaching 69.6 billion yuan. The number of subsidized projects was the same as 100 in the previous year, but without government support, more than 1,000 cases of smart manufacturing were promoted twice as many as the previous year.

For manufacturers of industrial robots and machine tools for first-line use, the presence of Japanese and European enterprises is prominent. In the Chinese market, foreign capital such as Fanaco, Anchuan Electric Machinery and ABB, Switzerland, excluding German Kuka, a subsidiary of Chinese enterprises, account for more than 60% of the total.

In China, there are many enterprises that only assemble parts and components from abroad. However, the government has continuously introduced supporting policies, and in the past 10 years, a number of new enterprises have been fostered. A representative case is Xinsong Robot Automation Co., Ltd., which is based on the Chinese Academy of Sciences. It has developed a cooperative robot with high security for people to share work nearby. Professor Ichiro Kokan, who is familiar with industrial robotics technology at the Graduate School of Northeastern University in Japan, believes that "the performance is comparable to that of Japanese and European enterprises".

In addition, there are also enterprises that supply low-cost domestic products to small and medium-sized factories. In the field of metal welding robots, Huanyan Automation Equipment (Shanghai) Co., Ltd., established in 2014, has the largest supply as a domestic enterprise. Shi Hongwei, vice president of the company, said confidently that the selling price of each robot was less than half that of foreign-funded enterprises. In order to reduce costs, in 2019, independent production was launched in some parts and components fields.

In the field of machine tools, new faces are also emerging. In the context of the deterioration of the operation of two large state-owned enterprises, there are also rising enterprises. Among them, Baoji Machine Tool Group has developed a five-axis machine tool which can be used to complete complex processing, and foreign-funded enterprises have always had advantages in this field. The head of the company emphasizes that foreign investment has advantages in technology, but it has advantages in price.

Nevertheless, although industrial robots are the focus of government policy, few companies are subsidized and have the technology to compete with foreign capital. Some experts believe that there are about 30 local industrial robotic enterprises in China that can compete with foreign-funded enterprises to a certain extent.

The subject lacks the manufacturing technology of core components such as encoder and reducer embedded in robot joints, and the experience of cooperation among multiple robots. In the government's plan, a bold target was put forward for core components, indicating that the current domestic ratio of only about 20% would be increased to 70%.