China has overtaken Japan to become the world’s biggest market for industrial robots as total sales in the country reached nearly 37 thousand units in 2013, a 60 percent increase from the previous year.
China bought a total of 36,650 robots — including 9,000 domestically manufactured — accounting for one in five of all industrial robots sold around the world last year.
The vast majority of the robots are used in manufacturing, particularly the automotive and electronics sectors, where rising automation is improving the productivity of many factories. And China is set to widen its market lead for robots, as over 34 thousand industrial robots have been sold in China in the first 9 months of the year.
Total sales on the mainland are forecast to hit an estimated 45,000 by the end of this year, and 100,000 units by 2017. Though China is the now the largest market for robots, it still lags behind other countries in the number of robots per worker. China has 21 units for every 10,000 workers, compared with the global average of 55 units. South Korea, Japan and Germany are the top three when it comes to the most robots per worker.