China’s 12th 5-Year Plan (2011-15) targeted robotics as a growth industry necessary for China’s development. It expects a compound growth rate of 25%, said Wang Weiming, deputy director of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. The ministry has set up incentives and 5 geographical areas for Chinese companies to develop (and improve the quality of) their robot products and capabilities. The ambitious plan includes a goal of 30% to be produced with homegrown technologies, Wang said.
In addition to Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Chengdu, authorities in Liaoning province are constructing a robot industrial complex so that by 2017 they expect $8 billion for robots and other automation equipment.
Growth is not limited to Chinese companies. Japanese Nachi-Fujikoshi, Fanuc and Yaskawa Electric join European KUKA, Reis Robotics, Staubli and ABB in opening manufacturing facilities in China instead of just having sales and integrator offices. Also, Japan, because of it’s mandatory retirement program, is providing consulting assistance in the form of thousands of retired engineers and technicians to China’s new robotics industry as well.
Picture shows new Nachi factory in Zhangjiagang, Jiangsu Province.