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Robot economy: 20 percent of the world's robots are in China

2014-07-03 13:05 People's Daily Online Web Editor: Yao Lan

At a price of not much more than 10 thousand yuan, with at least five years' work expectancy, no salary, no social welfare, no quarrels with the boss, no days off, no resignations and can meet the workload of three people. As a boss, would you not want such employees?

As industrialization progresses, China has become recognized as a major center for the global manufacturing industry. But increasing labor costs pose a problem for China's industry. Experts believe that developing intelligent manufacturing technology that focuses on industrial robots is essential. In the next 30 years, China's robot market will grow by at least 30 percent.

Around the world, robots are mainly employed in the car and electronics industries. In China, they account for 80 percent of the workforce in the car industry.

Continuous growth of labor costs and labor shortages are the main incentives behind factories employing robots instead of people, according to Liu Changyong, vice dean of the research institute of Shenyang Xinsong Robot Automation Co. "Robots used to be very expensive. Companies would not consider using them. But in the past few years, prices have dropped by 4 percent every year."

In 2013, China overtook Japan as the world's largest robot market, purchasing 20 percent of the world's robots.

Nevertheless, China's domestic robot market is dominated by producers from Japan, Europe and the United States, while Chinese companies take less than 10 percent of total sales.

Despite its rapid growth, China's robot technology still lags behind that of advanced countries, according to Zhao Jie, director of the Robot Research Institute of Harbin Institute of Technology.

Zhao Jie is concerned that rising demand for industrial robots might lead to cutthroat competition and duplicate construction of industrial parks among domestic enterprises.

In spite of these misgivings, some experts are optimistic about the robot industry. Cai Hegao, academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and professor of the Harbin Institute of Technology said that Japan had gone through a similar process and has now formed several major robot enterprises through merger and acquisition. "The number of robots is too small in the manufacturing industry. I hope that after years of development, competent enterprises will prosper and promote the sound development of China's industrial robot industry. "

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