BEIJING—The Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has released a five-year plan for the country's robotics industry, with the goal being to ensure that China remains a global leader in robot technology and industrial advancement. The plan focuses heavily on promoting innovation, consolidating the industry and creating larger entities.

This is the second such plan released by MIIT, according Song Xiaogang, executive director and secretary-general of the China Robot Industry Alliance.The first plan came out in April 2016 and covered 2016 to 2020.

"The plan has great guiding significance for promoting the high-quality development of China's robotics industry during the 14th period," says Xiaopang. "Robots are the key equipment of modern industry. The plan leads the digital development and intelligent upgrading in China, and also helps to promote global robot technology progress.”

Data in the report is from 2020. That year, there were 168,377 new robots installed (thereof, 45,347 units from Chinese suppliers), which was 20 percent higher than in 2019. This amount makes China number one in the world for installed robots. Industry-wise, 42 percent are for handling operations, followed by 37 percent for the electrical/electronics industry, 21 percent for welding and 16 percent for automotive.

“China is by far the biggest robot market in the world regarding annual sales and the operational stock,” comments Milton Guerry, president of the International Federation of Robotics (IFR). “IFR´s robot density statistics is a useful indicator of China´s dynamic developments, counting the number of industrial robots per 10,000 employees. China´s robot density in the manufacturing industry currently ranks 9th globally (246 units), compared to 25th (49 units) just five years ago.”