Rows of robots assembling cars debut at the second China International Import Expo in Shanghai. (Photo/China News Service)
Rows of robots assembling cars, checking electronic substrates and doing cardboard packaging at the exhibition area of Japanese company Nachi-Fujikoshi Corp. are a major attraction at the second China International Import Expo in Shanghai.
Throngs of visitors gather at the booth, taking pictures and shooting videos, with many from Chinese manufacturing companies inquiring about the products in search of their best choices.
The six-day high-profile expo provides a perfect opportunity for global robot makers to boost brand awareness and get larger slices of the Chinese market.
Nachi's exhibits focus more on application this year, said Zhou Guojie, general manager of Nachi (China) Co., Ltd., which attended both the first and second CIIE. "We've improved our robots and developed applications to bring the best out of them for our customers," he said.
"The expo provides us an opportunity to improve our brand awareness in a broader market, boost exchanges with potential customers to better know their needs and thus gain a better understanding of the Chinese market," said Zhou.
Nachi pays high attention to the Chinese market, its largest overseas market, and is very bullish on the Chinese market, said Zhou. "The Chinese government is opening its arms to embrace the world and we are happy to see that."
During last year's expo, Nachi signed 500 million yuan (71.5 million U.S. dollars) worth of tentative deals. "This year's amount won't be smaller," he said.
In recent years, China has been seeking to deploy a large number of robots to turbocharge its manufacturing sector amid rising labor costs and an aging population. The smart manufacturing wave is creating vast opportunities for the robotics industry.
China is the world's largest industrial robot market, accounting for a third of global sales and with an estimated value of 5.7 billion dollars in 2019, according to a report by the Chinese Institute of Electronics.
There are expected to be more than 130 robots per 10,000 people in China by 2021, according to the International Federation of Robotics.
The huge market potential unleashes strong buying interests at the import expo, which attracts more than 3,800 companies and an estimated 500,000 buyers and visitors.
At the booth of Japanese robotics giant Yaskawa, Li Xiaoming, general manager of Jinhua Hecheng Tools Co., Ltd., spent quite a while talking in details about his demand for a type of quality inspection robot.
The high-performance Yaskawa robot can finish the inspection of 28 parts on an electronic substrate in less than 4 seconds, while the normal testing takes more than 23 seconds.
"The robot can boost production efficiency, reduce labor costs and most importantly, improve product conformity rate," said Li.
Masao Ojima of Yaskawa Electric (China) Co., Ltd. said through attending this year's expo, the company aims to improve its brand awareness and seek potential customers in China. China is a much bigger market than Japan and there is huge business growth potential, he said.
"There is a huge demand for robots in China with labor costs rising and companies upgrading facilities to improve production and quality," he added.
Swiss tech giant ABB, which moved the global headquarters of its robotics business to Shanghai in 2006, has a bigger exhibition space and larger number of exhibited items, including a waste sorting robot, at the second CIIE than a year ago.
It is very inspiring to see that China is determined to push forward the high-level opening up, said Zhang Zhiqiang, managing director of ABB China.