(Yicai Global) June 6 -- China was the largest importer of German robotics and automation products last year, showed data issued by Germany's mechanical engineering industry association. Large investments by electronics firms in automation was the main driver for China's increased demand for such products.
The exports of German robotics products to China jumped 60 percent annually last year, while such exports to other parts of the Asian continent soared only 20 percent, state-run Xinhua News Agency said, citing data issued by Frankfurt-based Verband Deutscher Maschinen- und Anlagenbau, or VDMA, yesterday.
The global sales volume of German robotics and automation products also surged to a new high in 2017. The total sales reached EUR14.5 billion (USD17 billion) last year, setting a new record.
The robust growth in sales volume beyond expectation indicates a vigorous automation market, said Norbert Stein, chief executive of VDMA Robotics and Automation, yesterday. "2017 was a very strong year for our industry," Stein said. "The fact that our expectations have now once again been exceeded is a testimony to the extraordinary market dynamics in automation."
VDMA anticipates EUR15.8 billion sales for German robotics and automation products this year, which corresponds to a 9 percent annual increase, thanks to what it called the driving force brought about by global automation trend and digitalization.
China sold 87,000 industrial robots in 2016, up 27 percent year-on-year, making it the biggest robot market in the world in terms of annual sales, showed data from the International Federation of Robotics, a professional umbrella organization. Sales of industrial robots are set to grow 15 percent to 20 percent per year over the next three years in the country, it estimates.
Chinese firms also bought majority stakes in some of the world's biggest German industrial robot makers as in the case of Midea Group buying nearly 95 percent stake in KUKA Aktiengesellschaft in 2016. They are jointly building a robot manufacturing base in Foshan, southeastern China's Guangdong province. Kuka joined a growing list of German firms including Kion, Putzmeister and KraussMaffei to come under Chinese ownership in recent years.
Editor: Mevlut Katik