The seventh China Information Technology Expo took place between the 9 and the 11th of April 2019 in Shenzhen. In this event which gathered the World leaders of technologies, the visitors could discover and try the news and innovation like the Youxiaomei robot of the that served cups of tea. Although the exhibitors were from different nationalities, this event was a veritable vitrine for the Chinese progress in this sector.
According to the « made in China 2025 » which objective is to make China become a leader in the high-tech industry, investments are colossal in the Research and Development field. China would like to establish in the Global market of the innovation and strategic sectors. China has the ambition to export their technologies designed and developed nationally in order to put an end to their role of “world factory” that was occupied so far in the international trade. Thus, the high-tech is on the way to become the motor of the Chinese economy. The country counts the strongest growth of the world in the Robotics sector and would largely dominate it in the coming years. Even if the International Robotic Federation (IRF) pointed a delay for China in 2013 based on the number of robots per worker (25 units for 10 000 workers), the progresses were considerable as in 2016 it already counted, 68 robots for 10 000 workers. In 2018, 340 000 were employed in the Chinese factories. The number of companies which activity is linked to the robot construction is rising: in 2017, the country already counted more than 6500. But the Robotics field take off does not only concern Chinese companies, numerous foreign groups interested in the Robotic industry growth and the opportunities that offer the Chinese market set up their manufacturing workshops in China.
In the services sector, the Robotics field records in China the most important growth thanks to the Artificial Intelligence progresses and would represent a market of more than USD 2.9 billion by 2020. The strong enthusiasm of the companies for those technologies fulfils their will of performance and rentability also contributes to the sector dynamism.
Even though the robots are expensive to buy, they quickly permit to make significative cost reduction and improve efficiency. There are a lot of examples of uses in the services sector. The RobotHe restaurants of the Alibaba group only employ robots for the service permitting to increase the speed and save a considerable amount of money from employees. The robots are also used in the post services. Since 2016 they do the parcel sorting for one of the dominating mails operators of the country. In the distribution field, the e-commerce company JD.com significatively uses the robotization. It has warehouses all robotized. To deliver the orders, the company also uses robots, drones or autonomous vehicles. Thanks to those innovations, the group has improved its sales performances and delivering times. The robotization extends to the Health field. In some hospitals in Bejing or Shanghai, robots work at the reception desk: they have the capacity of answering thousands of questions and guide the patient to the required service. Operational since 2018, the robot developed by the Chinese group iFlytek is able to identify the diseases and realize the diagnosis. The education field gives way to the Robotics. In 2018, almost 600 nursery schools in China were using the teaching assistant Keeko developed to interact with pupils.
Finally, in the industry field, China is also leader in the Robotics market. In 2016, the country represented 30% of it. The IRF plans that in 2020, China will use 950 300 robots in their factories and will produce 150000. The country is already a leader in the purchase and the use of robots and is about to lead the design and production.
From the daily life to the industry, the use of robots is massive. There would be approximately 3 million robots in the world in 2020 only in the industrial sector. The Chinese contribution to the development of robotics is huge. This increasing importance shows the change of the country position in the international market: once “workshop of the world”, it is today one of the leaders. The Chinese progress in the field of high technologies is living up to the desire of industrial development and the will of expend its influence in the key areas of the global economy.