China is on course to become the world’s largest producer of industrial robots, after recent years show a phenomenal increase in domestic use and rates of production.
Annual sales of Chinese-made industrial robots to Chinese manufacturing companies are projected to reach 100,000 units by 2020, up from zero Chinese-made robots in 2012, and 20,400 in 2015, according to Wang Ruixiang, president of the China Machinery Industry Federation. "By the end of 2020, I reckon that the share of the domestic market enjoyed by Chinese robotic manufacturers could well increase to 50 percent," said Daokui Qu, CEO of Chinese robot manufacturer Siasun at a conference in Beijing sponsored by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR).
In 2015, Chinese companies purchased 67’000 industrial robots compared to 27’000 purchased in the US. Domestic production accounted for 31% of Chinese industrial robot purchases, up 25% from 2013. In 2016, for every 10’000 workers in China there was 36 units of robot, in 2020 the country expects that number to increase to 150 units.
It’s not just China though, Asia as a whole is the largest and fastest growing market for industrial robots; in 2015 Asia represented 63% of the global 248’000 units sold. Although the speed of growth from continent to continent varies drastically, the global increase since 2009 has more than quadrupled from 60’000 units to 248’000 units in 2015 and the growth isn’t predicted to slow any time soon.
The global automotive industry remains the largest market for industrial robots at 95,000 units purchased last year, followed by the electrical/electronics industry (53,300 units); metal (34,600 units), rubber and plastics (21,200 units); food (7,200 units); and pharmaceuticals (2,100 units).
In 2014, the total market value of the industrial robotic industry was $32 billion.