Skip to content

China Has World’s Largest Robotics Market but it Has No Core Technology

China is the world’s largest production base and consumer market in the field of industrial robots, but it has almost no pricing rights. The reason is that its key technologies are in the hands of other countries.  

At the end of 2021, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of China said that China has been the world’s largest consumer of industrial robots for the last eight consecutive years. The density of robots in manufacturing reached 246 per 10,000 people in 2020. That is nearly twice the global average.  

To carry out each motion a robot makes, it needs a core controller, a servo driver and a servo motor to work together. The core controller is the “brain” of the industrial robot, which directly affects the stability and accuracy of the machine.

The Chinese financial media, Chinese Business Strategies, said in a commentary article in February of this year that the biggest reason that China-made robots are inferior to those of other countries is the “algorithm gap” in the core controller system, which is not only reflected in the core controller, but also slows down the response speed of the servo system. 

Last June, a Chinese Academic Group, The Automation Committee, published an op-ed article, “A Panoramic Analysis of the Industrial Robot Industry Chain.” The article said that the high-end market is also mainly monopolized by international companies. Imported products account for more than 70 percent of China’s industrial robot servo market. A total of 85 percent of the precision reducers necessary for manufacturing industrial robots in China are also manufactured by foreign investors. These are mainly from Japan, Europe and the United States. Therefore, China has almost no pricing power in the field of industrial robots. 

China-made industrial robots are reluctantly used to produce those products with low precision requirements. High-end fields such as aerospace and the military industry have to rely on imported robots. The failure rate of Chinese-made robots is possibly several times higher than the failure rate of imported machines. Chinese companies would rather buy second-hand products from other countries at a high price than buy low-priced Chinese products.  

Source: Epoch Times, Feb. 27, 2022