© 2019 SourceMedia. All rights reserved.

Robots multiply in China with annual output passing 100,000

(Bloomberg) -- China is churning out robots.

Annual production of industrial robots surpassed 100,000 for the first time -- and it only took 10 months. Shipments were up 67 percent through October compared with a year earlier, state media reported Thursday. And there’s more to come: full-year output will reach 120,000 units, according to Ministry of Industry and Information Technology forecasts.

China produced about 90,000 robot units last year, more than South Korea and North America combined, data compiled by Bloomberg from the International Federation of Robotics show.

robots in china.jpg
A technician operates a controller on the testing line of a factory operated by E-Deodar Robot Equipment Co., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ningbo Techmation Co., in Foshan, China, on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017. Startup E-Deodar is building $15,000 industrial bots that are about a third cheaper than foreign brands and are being used to automate assembly lines across the Pearl River Delta manufacturing hub. China is embracing robotics with the same full-on intensity that's made it a force in high-speed rail and renewable energy. Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

China accounts for about a third of the global demand for industrial robots, which are at the core of the government’s sweeping “Made in China 2025” plan to upgrade factories to be highly automated and technologically-advanced.

In 2015, foreign manufacturers comprised about two-thirds of China’s output, according to the IFR. That proportion is narrowing as Chinese companies such as Midea Group Ltd. and Siasun Robot & Automation Co. expand into the sector. Midea purchased Germany’s Kuka AG last year and Siasun opened a $300 million industrial park in October near its headquarters in Shenyang.