A Chinese city has declared its intention to become the world leader in automation technology.
Wuhan Development Zone has proposed to transform itself into a “capital of robots”, after hosting the 2018 World Robotic Contest.
Statistics show that the size of global robot market reached $23.5 bn (¥160 bn) in 2017, and is expected to top $35.3 bn (¥240 bn) by 2020.
Wuhan has previously been known as China’s “capital of cars” due to its strong automobile industry. However, as the development of China’s automobile industry has slowed down, the local government has eyed robotics as its new growth engine.
Now Wuhan plans to build ‘a robot town’, and is currently sourcing capital, technology and talents in fields of big data, cloud computing, and industrial Internet of Things.
So far, Wuhan officials have been vague in their exact plans for the new development, though they have said the zone aims to achieve an annual output value in the robotics industry of ¥10 bn by 2020, ¥30 bn by 2022, and ¥50 bn by 2025.
Currently the city uses 3,500 robots to enhance industrial economic development, at a ratio of one machine worker for every 100 human employees.
The 2018 World Robot Contest Final was held in Wuhan Development Zone in central China’s Hubei Province from 27 – 29 July. More than 5,000 contestants represented several hundred teams from over a dozen countries. The event was also a platform for technical exchange, promotion and talent training.
China is already making huge strides in robotics, such as the warehouse owned by e-retailers Alibaba, which uses more than 60 robots to source and package orders. The retailer claims this has lead to a threefold increase in productivity.