The International Robot Association said that China is set to become the largest market for robots, with the demand for robots from China expected to reach 32,000 units by the end of the year.
Since the beginning of 2014, in conjunction with a steadily worsening labor force in eastern China, more and more manufacturing companies have adopted using industrial-strength robots. Foxconn in particular plans on using around one million robots to take over labor tasks.
According to previous SCMP reports, the local firm Shanghai-Fanuc Robotics, a Chinese joint venture of Japanese giant Fanuc which dominates the global market for industrial robots, sold around 4,000 robots in China in 2012—up 18 percent from the year before.
State leaders have urged businesses in China to up technology in order to compete with rivals in emerging markets that have cheaper labor supply. Former World Bank chief economist predicted in the Post report that the average monthly wage in China’s manufacturing center would rise to nearly 1,000 USD by the end of this decade from 350 USD in 2010.
The rapidly rising salaries of factory workers could see China lose up to 85 million manufacturing jobs to other countries in the region, Lin says. But analysts say robots may prove the saviour – or at least delay the process.
“China … is increasingly facing low-cost competition, and as Chinese employment costs rise we can expect more use of robotics to maintain competitiveness,” the International Federation of Robotics said in a report published in February.
[Video via CCTV]