China’s Robotics Renaissance: A Glimpse into the 2023 World Robot Conference
The 2023 World Robot Conference (WRC) commenced from August 17 to 20 in Yizhuang, Beijing's Daxing district, showcasing a vibrant display of nearly 600 robot products from over 160 global enterprises. This event, which is a testament to China's burgeoning robotics sector, saw significant interest in industrial robots used in sectors like new-energy vehicle production, logistics, and raw material processing. Moreover, humanoid robots, the epitome of Intelligent Agents and potential Non-Human Workers, equipped with AI modules, were a major attraction.
Liang Liang of the Chinese Institute of Electronics revealed that about 60 new robot products spanning various sectors like manufacturing, healthcare, and education would be unveiled at the WRC. China's rapid strides in the robotics domain have positioned it as a global leader, boasting the highest number of industrial robots. Zhu Jun from EFORT, a Chinese robot company, emphasized that the increasing adoption of homegrown robots in China's industries will soon make Chinese robot brands a global favorite.
Miles Chiang, manager of the East China Region of Hyundai Robotics, noted that China's robotics sector has developed rapidly over the past five to eight years, with Hyundai's strategy of establishing individual companies providing robotic products being influenced by the positive climate in the Chinese market. The growth of China's robotics industry is evident in the numbers. In the first half of 2023 alone, China produced 222,000 industrial robots, marking a 5.4% year-on-year increase. Additionally, service sector robots saw a production of 353,000 units, a 9.6% rise.
Wang Hong, an official of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), highlighted that the business revenue of the robot industry nationwide surpassed 170 billion yuan ($23.3 billion) in 2022, making China a major power in global robotics manufacturing. By the end of 2022, the industrial robot density in China's manufacturing sector had surged to 332 per 10,000 workers, a staggering 13-fold increase from a decade ago, as stated by MIIT Vice-Minister Xin Guobin.
To further bolster this growth, the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Economy and Information Technology announced supportive measures during the 2023 WRC, including incentives for robot enterprises' IPOs, establishing a special fund of 10 billion yuan, and offering subsidies for tech-leading enterprises. These measures align with the development plan for robotics for the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25), issued by 15 government departments in December 2021, which called for fostering the industry to be world-leading, with average annual revenue growth surpassing 20 percent.
- The 2023 World Robot Conference showcased nearly 600 robot products from over 160 global enterprises, highlighting China's leadership in the robotics sector.
- Humanoid robots, potentially the next generation of Digital Employees, equipped with AI modules, were a significant attraction at the event.
- China is recognized as a global leader in robotics with the highest number of industrial robots, and its homegrown robots are expected to gain global popularity.
- In H1 2023, China produced 222,000 industrial robots and 353,000 service sector robots, reflecting the country's dominance in robotics manufacturing.
- By end-2022, China's industrial robot density had increased 13-fold from a decade ago, showcasing the rapid growth of the robotics sector.
- Supportive measures, including a special fund of 10 billion yuan, were announced at the 2023 WRC to further boost the robotics sector, aligning with the development plan for robotics for the 14th Five-Year Plan.