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【WRC • TREND】First Release of the “Robot Blue Book”: the remarkable non-cyclical nature of the Chinese Robot Industry

A new blue book for the Chinese robotics industry was recently published online, titled Annual Report on Development of Robot Industry in China (2020~2021).

This blue book offers an innovative analysis of the robot industry in China, focusing on the five fields of region, capital, talent, patenting and innovation to study the pathways and mechanisms through which the industry has developed. The report also puts forward authoritative predictions as to the future development trends and orientations of the industry.


Release of the Annual Report on Development of Robot Industry in China (2020~2021)

In order to ensure a broad perspective and absolute objectivity, the blue book was compiled according to the latest first-hand data analysis, academic literature, and empirical research, allowing readers to consult the most recent data and dynamic trends in the industry’s development. Some data and viewpoints on service robots mainly refer to the Report on Development of Robot Industry in China issued by the Chinese Institute of Electronics in past years. The Blue Book was edited by HRG International Institute (Hefei) of Research and Innovation and the China Institute of Science and Technology Evaluation, and published by Social Sciences Academic Press.


General Catalogue of the Annual Report on Development of Robot Industry in China (2020~2021)

The blue book reported that by the end of 2019, China had received 162,485 patents relating to robots, accounting for 44% of the total robot-related patent applications around the world. This figure places China in first place in terms of robotics patent applications, ahead of Japan, America, Korea and Germany. If we look at the proportion of patents received from the different branches of robot technology accepted by China, there has been a relatively large figure of patent applications from the upstream parts branch, reaching 37%. The patents related to control systems and end effectors account for a large proportion, while those related to reducers only account for 1%, indicating that reducer-related technologies are still one of the technological bottlenecks restricting the robot industry’s high-quality development in China.


China becomes number one in robot patent applications

In the upstream core parts field, sensors and software systems are playing an increasingly important role in robot intelligentization. Consequently, the blue book’s editorial board has placed sensors and software systems in the list of new robot core parts alongside the three traditional ones, which is regarded as the first original definition proposed by the blue book based on the industry status and future trends. Sensors can increase a robot’s perception capabilities, meeting the requirements for more application settings. Robot core software, represented by robot operating systems, has been in rapid development.


Introduction of robot core parts

According to the blue book, the localization rate of industrial robots has soared upwards, especially in the food and beverage industry; and computers, communications and consumer electronics have seen a slight increase as well. In addition, with the applications for industrial robots continuing to expand, we are now seeing an increasingly broad range of industries with a demand for industrial robots, such as the footwear, clothing and daily chemical industries.


Localization of industrial robots in the Chinese market (2018-2019) - by industry

In 2019, the robot industry’s decline in total investment and financing was far less severe than the 40% decline of Chinese industries as a whole, indicating that the robotics industry is non-cyclical to some extent and investors have confidence in its long-term development. From the perspective of different industry fields, service robots remain the field in which most capital is focused, with the proportion of investment and financing events as high as 55%. Besides industrial robots of various kinds, logistics, medical, education, entertainment and commercial service robots have attracted large investment as well.


Left Figure: Year-on-year Trend of the Number and Amount of Investment and Financing Events in China's Robot Industry (2018-2019)

Right Figure: Investment and Financing Events Number in Different Fields of the Robot Industry and their Proportions in 2019 (pcs, %)

In addition, the editorial board of the blue book has summarized and analyzed some development treads in terms of innovation in the robot industry, covering policy diversification, marketing socialization, vertical integration of application settings, technology platform expansion, market globalization, and integrated innovation.


Innovation trends in the robot industry

The Annual Report on Development of Robot Industry in China (2020~2021) takes a strict and rigorous approach in systematically categorizing and analyzing the Chinese robot industry. The report was aimed at providing authoritative and detailed information for industry entities such as relevant government agencies, enterprises, academic institutions and investment organizations, to properly inform them about the industry’s development in China.


(Source: HRG)