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ROBOT DEMOGRAPHY

Asian manufacturers are adding more robots than the rest of the world combined

A staff member stands next to robots at a plant of Kuka Robotics in Shanghai
Reuters/Pete Sweeney
Ready to roll out.
  • Joon Ian Wong
By Joon Ian Wong

Technology Reporter

This article is more than 2 years old.

Asia is leading the way in the robotics revolution.

Last year, Asian manufacturers added more industrial robots to their operations than the rest of the world combined. In particular, China is adding robots at a torrid pace of about 20% a year, on average, and about 650,000 new robots are expected to be installed on the mainland by 2020, according to a new report from the International Federation of Robotics. Robots will be key for China to boost its workforce productivity and manufacture more valuable products.

Chinese companies have already made major moves to boost their robot numbers. Consumer appliance maker Midea acquired German robotics company Kuka for €4.5 billion in August. Midea has said it plans to grow Kuka’s business in China while retaining it as an independent brand.

Here’s what the world’s robot population in the near future could look like. In absolute numbers, China and the major Asian markets will dominate the supply of new robots:

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