Date
16 December 2017
A woman races with a textile robot made by Chinese manufacturer Anhui Efort at an expo in Shanghai in July 2014. Authorities plan to step up development of the robotics industry in a bid to boost productivity. Photo: Reuters
A woman races with a textile robot made by Chinese manufacturer Anhui Efort at an expo in Shanghai in July 2014. Authorities plan to step up development of the robotics industry in a bid to boost productivity. Photo: Reuters

China to boost support for robotics industry

China is planning to boost its robotics industry by stepping up government support and mapping out a five-year development blueprint and technology roadmap for the sector. 

As part of the efforts, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) will launch a targeted initiative to support the development of the robotics industry, mainland media reported.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) will draft a national level plan for the industry under the 13th Five-Year Plan the covers the period 2016 to 2020, according to Investment Express, a newspaper backed by Guangdong People’s Radio Station.

He Minjia, general manager of GSK CNC Equipment Co., was quoted as saying that central authorities have approved a plan to set up a project to support some companies that are willing to enter the robotics industry.

China became the biggest robot market in 2013 in terms of annual sales. Sales of industrial robots in the country climbed to 36,560 units last year, up 41 percent from the previous year and accounting for one-fifth of the global sales, the report said, citing data from the International Federation of Robotics (IFR).

Of the installations in China last year, only about 9,500 units were put up by domestic manufacturers while the rest were taken up by foreign firms, according to the China Robot Industry Alliance.

Wang Weiming, a senior official with MIIT, said at robot industry forum on Wednesday that domestic-made robots are mainly mid- or low-end products, and that less than 6 percent are high-end six-axis articulated robots. Moreover, the manufacturers have been long relying on foreign suppliers for import of major parts.

Wang said the development of the domestic robotics industry has not kept pace with the demand.

Between 2008 and 2013, total supply of industrial robots increased by about 36 percent per year on average in China. But the overall robot density rate was only about 14 robots per 10,000 employees in 2013, compared to 1,520 in Japan and 1,111 in the United States, IFR data showed.

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