We all know that robotics in Asia has a huge role to play in the fourth Industrial Revolution and this century is being touted as the "China century" for robotics.
2015 saw a 15% increase in robot sales, taking it to 253,748 units, by far the highest level recorded thus far in a year. The major contributors to this increase were the electronics industry, metal industry, chemicals, plastic and rubber industry.
Let's look at a geography-wise contribution to this field.
Out of the 229,261 robots sold in the world in 2014, 50 per cent were consumed by China, Korea and Japan, 3 East Asian countries, according to International Federation of Robotics (IFR). China alone formed 25 per cent. 50 per cent of these robots and 90 per cent of the world's robot parts were manufactured and supplied by Japanese companies.
Robot sales are expected to go up to over 400,000 by 2018, with China, Korea and Japan accounting for 70 per cent of it.
China has firmly established its position as leaders with a share of 27% of total supply in 2015. China alone outdid Europe's total sales volume, with sales of about 68,600 industrial robots in 2015.
Republic of Korea saw an increase of about 30%-35% with about 38,300 units being sold there in 2015.
Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam together form the ASEAN 10. ASEAN is already a key manufacturing hub for the electronics and automotive sector. With Toyota manufacturing over 11,00,000 vehicles a year in Thailand and Indonesia combined, BASF has six production sites in Malaysia, GE is present in over 60 locations across ASEAN and Philippines has become a major hub for IT and BPOs. All this and ASEAN's fast growing GDP of $2.5 trillion, coupled by the flourishing trade relations with East Asia is bound to make robots the tools of choice to ensure a prosperous future for ASEAN countries.
Taiwan is fast being recognized as one of the most important robot markets in the world in terms of annual supply.
Things could be a lot better in India, with its huge population and high GDP. Yet, it barely purchased 1900 industrial robots in 2014. While the rest of Asia is far ahead in embracing industrial automation, India is still reliant on its low-cost labor force. However, awareness is spreading and a lot of companies have chosen to go down the automation route.