FRANKFURT, Germany – The recently released World Robotics report presented by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) shows a new record stock of about 300,000 operational industrial robots in the Republic of Korea in 2018. Within five years, the country has doubled its number of industrial robots. Following Japan and China, the country ranked third in 2018.

On the downside, the dynamics of robot installations has decreased in recent years. For 2019, a continued decrease is expected.

“Robot installations declined by 5 percent to 37,807 units in 2018,” says Junji Tsuda, president of the IFR. “Both, the electrical/electronics industry and the automotive industry reduced installations. Together, they account for 82 percent of total demand.”

In the long run, the extensive use of robots is vital in order to maintain competitiveness. Korea’s population is aging rapidly. By the middle of this century, it will have one of the oldest populations out of all Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries, just behind Japan, Italy and Greece. In 2050, more than one third of the population will be over the age of 65 and around half of all workers will be aged 50 and over.

This helps to explain why South Korea has already embraced robots, particularly in its manufacturing sector, where “robot density” ranks second place in the world, following Singapore. With 774 industrial robots per 10,000 employees, the Republic of Korea has more than twice the number of Germany (3rd with 338 units) and Japan (4th with 327 units).