• China has called on foreign tech firms to share their knowledge on robotics and tap into the market in China, the world's largest robotics market.

China has called on foreign tech firms to share their knowledge on robotics and tap into the market in China, the world's largest robotics market. (Photo : www.roboticsbusinessreview.com)

China has called on foreign robotics companies on Monday, Nov. 23, to share their knowledge and technology with Chinese vendors, adding that international cooperation will help foreign companies tap into China's huge market, China Daily reported.

Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao made this call during an industry expo in Beijing as he expressed hope that industry leaders in Europe, the United States and Japan will be open to technology cooperation with China, the world's second-largest economy, which buys one-fourth of all robots every year.

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"Although China is the world's biggest market for robots, it is lagging behind in advanced robotic development," Li said. "The country will be more open to overseas experts and enterprises so they can conduct joint-development (with local scientists)."

According to the report, China became the world's largest robotics market last year in terms of the number of products in use.

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said that at least 800,000 robots will be put into use in Chinese factories by 2020, and by that time, surging demand will create more than 100 billion yuan ($15.7 billion) in turnover.

In a congratulatory letter sent to the expo, President Xi Jinping expressed that China is willing to work with other countries in developing state-of-the-art robots.

The report said that the country is looking at robots to help boost efficiency in manufacturing sectors, from automobiles to textiles. Currently, China is relying on overseas giants such as ABB Switzerland Ltd. and Germany's KUKA AG to provide high-end robots that are used in the automobile manufacturing, electronics and logistics sectors.

Luo Jun, the executive president of the Beijing-based International Robotics and Intelligent Equipment Industry Alliance, said that locally made robots account for only 20 percent of the market share and the presence of Chinese robots in high-end sectors is significantly lower.

"It will not be easy for local companies to replace imported devices without overseas technology assistance," Luo said.

Luo added that since there is huge demand for robots, overseas giants may be willing to provide some technologies in exchange for market shares in China.

Wang Tianran, an academician at the China Academy of Engineering, said that sales of service robots that can conduct such tasks as cooking, monitoring blood pressure and helping senior citizens may increase due to the aging population and the increasing income of Chinese families.

"This is a young market and will witness high double-digit growth," Wang said.