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“Robotics and the Internet will transform global manufacturing, and China is entering a golden decade for the development of domestically produced robots,” said Qu Daokui, deputy director of the State Engineering Research Center for Robotics in Shanghai on Sunday.
The past decade has seen the cost of robot production decrease by 5 per cent annually, while labor cost has been growing by 10 per cent year on year, according to Qu.
“Though large in quantity, China has a low robot density with 23 units for every 10,000 workers, compared to the world average of 58 units,” he said. “Only a quarter of the robots in the Chinese market are domestically made and the three core parts and components of domestic robots have long relied on imports.”
There were about 420 robot enterprises in China as of September and more than 30 factories under construction, Qu said.
Robotics will promote the transformation and upgrading of China’s work force, and companies will face new challenges such as employing and training staff and transforming production technology and management, he added.
China’s labour wages are set to increase by 10 per cent or more in 2014, driving more low-cost manufacturers out of the country.
Beijing’s embrace of higher wages to help bolster consumer spending is expected to spark a jump in factories using automation and robots.
A recent report by the International Federation of Robotics says China became the biggest robot market with a share of 20 per cent of the total supply in 2013.
About 70 per cent of the total robot sales in 2013 were in Japan, China, the United States, Korea and Germany.
“36,560 industrial robots were sold in 2013 in China. Thereof, Chinese robot suppliers installed about 9,000 units according to the information from the China Robot Industry Alliance (CRIA). Foreign robot suppliers increased their sales by 20% in China. Between 2008 and 2013, total supply of industrial robots increased by about 36% per year on average in China,” says the report.
TBP and Agencies