GUANGZHOU — Guangdong province, the country’s southern manufacturing base, will invest 943 billion yuan ($152 billion) to replace human laborers with robots within three years, according to the Guangdong provincial government.
According to an action plan published on March 26, Guangdong will push for application of robots in 1,950 companies, starting in industries like automobile, home appliance, textile, electronics and construction materials manufacturing.
The province also plans to build two advanced industrial bases for robot production by the end of 2017.
The plan came as Guangdong struggles with labor shortages and mounting labor costs, problems common to China’s wealthy coastal provinces where the rise in living costs are driving migrant workers to inland parts of China.
Despite surging demand, China lags behind in robotic technology, and its robot manufacturing relies heavily on importation of key ingredients.
The trend has propelled Vice-Minister of Industry and Information Technology Su Bo to say in 2014 that China will strive to make breakthroughs in key robotics technologies in order to be more competitive.
Also last year, Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong, set the goals of fostering a robot-making industry with an output value of over 100 billion yuan and having 80 percent of the city’s manufacturing production done by robots by 2020.