China installed more robots in its factories last year than the rest of the world, accelerating its drive to automate manufacturing, The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.
Shipments of industrial robots to China in 2021 rose 45 percent compared with the previous year to more than 243,000, according to data viewed by the WSJ from the International Federation of Robotics, a robotics industry trade group.
China accounted for almost half of all installations of heavy-duty industrial robots last year, cementing the country’s status as the No. 1 market for robot manufacturers worldwide. The IFR data indicates that China installed nearly twice as many new robots as did factories throughout the Americas and Europe.
Automation can help Chinese factories focus more on higher-value manufacturing, while the robots themselves are becoming more available, according to the WSJ.
Preliminary data showed that robot installation by Chinese electronics manufacturers increased by 30 percent in 2021. Other sectors that are significant investors in robotics include auto makers and manufacturers of plastics, rubber, metals and machinery.