13:16 GMT23 April 2021
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    China, the world's largest market for robots, also wants to become their biggest producer.

    The China Robot Industry Alliance outlined plans on Friday which would make China become the world's largest manufacturer of robots, at the organization's annual conference in Chongqing, southwest China.

    "We predict that China can become one of the strongest industrial robot makers by 2030," said Song Xiaodong, secretary-general of the Alliance, at the conference.

    According to the plan, which is being overseen by China's Prime Minister Li Keqiang, by 2030 China will be a world-leading research and development center for robotics. It could also become a high-end manufacturing base for robots and key components, explained Song.

    Demand for robots in China has increased due to rising labor costs, changing demographics and the Chinese government's desire to shift manufacturing away from the manual assembly of lower-quality products to higher-value products which require automotive precision.

    According to data from the International Federation of Robotics, by far the greatest demand for robots last year came from China, where buyers were supplied with about 56,000 units, 54 percent more than in 2013. South Korea was the second largest destination, with 39,000 units. About 225,000 units were sold globally in 2014, 27 percent more than in 2013.  

    Robot couple Xiaolan (L) and Xiaotao carry trays of food at a restaurant in Jinhua, Zhejiang province, China, May 18, 2015
    © REUTERS / Stringer
    Robot couple Xiaolan (L) and Xiaotao carry trays of food at a restaurant in Jinhua, Zhejiang province, China, May 18, 2015
    Of the units delivered to China, Chinese robot suppliers delivered 16,000 units, while international robot suppliers delivered around 40,000. 

    In March the provincial government of Guangdong, China's southern manufacturing base, released an action plan, according to which 943 billion yuan [$152 bln] will be invested in over three years to implement the application of robots in 1,950 companies, which will work in industries such as  electronics, automobiles, home appliances, textiles and construction.


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