(Yicai Global) Aug. 16 -- The link between the recent decline in the growth of China's robot production and the US imposition of tariffs is still unclear, but China's robotics market still enjoys a considerable scale with great potential in various areas, said Cong Liang, spokesman for the country's National Development and Reform Commission.
The US set 25 percent added duties on 818 categories of Chinese goods worth USD34 billion from July 6, robots included. Foreign media questioned whether, since the yearly growth rate of China's industrial robot production was 35 percent in May, 7 percent in June, and 6 percent in July, the additional US tariffs have impacted national production.
Cong made the above reply at a briefing of the Information Office of the country's cabinet the State Council yesterday, news portal chinanews.com reported.
As the hefty tariff hike kicked in starting July, the nexus between the recent decline in the growth rate of automata production and the punitive duties was still unclear, Cong said.
China's robotics market has grown swiftly in recent years, he noted. Many Chinese companies are also gravitating toward intelligence and automation, with logistics, production and business firms quite active in robot applications.
Chinese factories such as carmaker FAW Group have popularized industrial robots, particularly in welding where they are now the major force, he further noted. Logistics firms are also automating their entire handling process, especially forklifts, which are actually a type of transfer robot.
China's entire robotics market is indeed large, Cong stressed. Great potential still exists for robots more extensive use and reconfiguration of traditional into intelligent production lines and processes.
The decline in the growth rate is likely just short-term, but this remains to be seen, he added.
China sold nearly 90,000 robot units in 2016, a 27 percent rise on the year before. The country claims 30 percent of the global market and has had the most industrial robots in use worldwide since 2016, foreign direct investment services firm Derzan Shera & Associates reported in their China Briefing newsletter, citing the International Federation of Robotics.
The country is set to produce 150,000 industrial robotic units and have 950,300 industrial robots in use by 2020. China's robot density is, however, below the global average, with only 68 units per 10,000 workers in 2016, per the Derzan Shera report.
The greatest demand for robots in China comes from international firms and domestic producers depend heavily on imported technology, the report said.
Editor: Ben Armour