Over the past three decades, China has become a manufacturing powerhouse primarily because of their extremely low cost of labor. However because of their economic success, Chinese incomes are on the rise and hurting profit margins in manufacturing. In order to combat this problem, China is rapidly expanding their use of robotics to reduce the need for unskilled labor. CNN reports on the shift in manufacturing:
Wages in China’s cities rose 12.4% last year, while in rural areas they were boosted by 21.9%, according to figures from China’s National Bureau of Statistics.
While that may be good for workers, manufacturers are softening the blow to their balance sheets by turning to robotics — which are cheaper, faster and deliver high quality.
China is the fastest growing market in robotics, and by 2014 it will top the global market, according to the International Federation of Robotics.
“China is the market that is still growing, and growing at a fast pace compared to Europe and the U.S., ” he said. “China will be the biggest robotic market, so it is important to be here.”
China’s robotics industry still lags that in other countries. In Japan, for example, there are 306 robots working per 10,000 people while in China there are currently only 15.