Introduction: In 2018, after nearly ten years of rapid growth, China’s robot market ushered in a “zero growth” situation for the first time. Some industry insiders exclaimed that “the winter of the robot industry is coming”. Facing the sluggish demand in the key application fields of traditional robots (such as automobiles, electronic appliances, construction machinery, etc.), where is the future growth pole of China’s robot market in the future? On August 21, at the main forum of the World Robot Conference, Qu Daokui, President of Siasun and Chairman of China Robot Industry Alliance, delivered a keynote speech entitled “In-depth Thinking on the Development of China’s Robot Industry – Opportunities and Challenges”, and shared with the guests on the scene. “Industrial Spring” in his eyes.
(The following content is an interception of Qu Daokui’s live speech)
Distinguished leaders, experts and guests, good morning! The title of my report is “Deep Thoughts on the Development of China’s Robot Industry – Opportunities and Challenges”.
We all know that robots, as a high-tech product integrating various high-tech products, have been highly valued by researchers and governments around the world, and have also been widely used in our lives, playing an important role in promoting effect. More importantly, since 2009, robots have thrived in the environment of sluggish global economic development and have been developing at a high speed. China has become the world’s largest robot market since 2013, maintaining its position as the largest market for six consecutive years, and maintaining the role of the largest growth rate in the first five years. Robots are also a huge investment outlet in China. In recent years, with the blessing of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data, and the Internet, the robot outlet can be said to be getting bigger and bigger, and the wind speed is getting faster and faster.
However, just when everyone saw robots advancing along such a trend and ushering in a new era, the global robot market, including the fastest-growing and largest Chinese robot market, suddenly had an inflection point last year. High-speed development has turned into low-speed zero growth, or even negative growth. So is the winter of robots coming or is the spring just beginning? What opportunities and challenges does the development of the entire robot industry face? Today I want to do an analysis and share with you.
My report is divided into three parts: the first is a comprehensive analysis of China’s robot industry, on this basis, I will analyze the severe challenges we are currently facing, and what major opportunities are there in the development process, and finally make a summary.
From 2013 to 2017, the Chinese robot market has maintained the two largest in the world: the largest market share and the fastest development rate, but a sudden turning point appeared last year. The first is a decline, the proportion of decline is 3.75%. Even in the context of the overall decline in the overall share of the Chinese robot market, the products of local robot companies still delivered a relatively perfect answer. The growth of local products was 16%, and the sales of foreign brands decreased by 10.9%. There is another key change. By comparing the market share of foreign brands and domestic brands, it can be seen that the market share of Chinese brands increased continuously from 2013 to 2016, and suddenly declined in 2017. Although the overall market was declining in 2018, But the Chinese market share has returned to 1/3, which is about 33%, which is a huge change.
The following is a detailed analysis and comparison of the three aspects of the robot’s structure, job type and application field.
Through the situation of the entire Chinese robot market, we can see that the multi-joint robot has the largest market share in the entire market, accounting for almost 60%, the second is the plane multi-joint robot, and the third is the logistics robot. These are the Changes in the analysis of the entire Chinese robot structure.
The market distribution of China’s domestic robot products is also multi-joint robots accounting for 43%. In fact, it is similar to the international trend. One is 60%, the other is 43%, the second is coordinate robots, and the third is Planar multi-joint robot, which is a change from the local product in the Chinese robot market.
The above data shows that under the unfavorable background of last year, local robot products, whether multi-joint, coordinate or plane joint robots, are growing rapidly, which is a very gratifying big change.
This is an analysis of the application area, as well as the overall market situation in China and the situation of the local robots below. It can be seen that there are still many green products in the Chinese market, many of which are decreasing year-on-year, but the local products are basically red, indicating that local products are still growing rapidly. Among them, the operation type of handling and loading and unloading is the leading type, accounting for 44% of the entire market, and the distribution of local products in this market is 55%, which are basically the same, but there are slight differences.
This is according to the industry analysis, the largest share is electrical and electronic equipment, accounting for almost 1/3, followed by machine manufacturing, metal processing and so on. Everyone remembers that before the entire global market, including the Chinese market, the automobile manufacturing industry accounted for almost 45%, and then it accounted for about 50%. Since last year, this segment has dropped significantly. Whether it is automotive electronics, machine manufacturing, and metal processing are declining, only the metal processing industry is growing, and automotive manufacturing, plastic chemicals, and electronics are still growing. The contrast between domestic brands and international brands in the Chinese market, the biggest change is that automobiles, as the traditional market advantage of robots, are actually declining. Therefore, it is the reason why the entire global robot market, including the Chinese robot market, has grown in size last year. The decline in magnitude has a key relationship with the recession of the auto industry.
Here you can see the mutual changes of Chinese local products and international brand products in the Chinese market in recent years:
First of all, from the structural point of view, the mutual changes of coordinate, parallel, multi-joint and plane joint type. Whether it is coordinate or parallel, local robots occupy certain advantages, multi-joint and plane joints are still green, indicating that China still has certain disadvantages or deficiencies compared with foreign brands in the field of high-end robots.
From the perspective of application types, the large category of welding and assembly is still dominated by the products of foreign robot companies, and there is a certain upward trend from 2017 and 2018, indicating that the competitiveness of China’s domestic robot products is gradually improving.
Let’s look at the application analysis of the robot industry – in the automotive industry, this is a shortcoming of Chinese local companies. There are two reasons: on the one hand, almost all robots used in automobiles require high quality and high reliability, although they have received significant However, there is still a certain gap compared with foreign countries. In the past, the automobile industry was almost monopolized by foreign companies, especially the long-term industry foundation and accumulation also had a certain brand effect. The development of China’s robot industry has a history of more than ten years, so there is still a big gap between the brand effect and foreign countries.
To sum up, China is still the largest robot market in the world, but the growth rate has given up the No.1 status. Last year was negative growth, and the overall decline was about negative 4%, but this data may be slightly in the future. Some adjustments, the production data of some foreign companies in China are not actually counted, and there will be changes of 1%-2%. More importantly, under the background of last year, domestic brands still increased by 16%, while foreign brands decreased by 11%. This is a big change, and the market share will account for almost 1/3.
Why did the robot industry turn around and decline last year? We attribute the reason to the big changes in the auto industry. We can see that the share of the auto industry was 45% in the past, but it reached 33% last year. This is a huge change. The automotive industry has always been the main market for robot applications. The 3C industry grew sluggishly last year, which also affected the development of the robot market. These two industries are the main reasons for the sharp decline in the Chinese robot market. In the past, our growth rate reached more than 50%. , last year was almost negative growth. Because of the huge changes in the Chinese market, the growth rate of the global market may remain at around 1% last year, almost zero. The main impact is the impact of the Chinese market.
So what are the challenges we face under such a big background and conditions? China’s robot market has grown rapidly for five consecutive years. Last year, there was a sudden inflection point. The reason is that the automobile industry is sluggish and the 3C industry is weak. The growth rate of the Chinese market, the world’s largest market, has declined, because the growth rate of the Chinese market has declined. , resulting in weak global market growth.
This is a sudden inflection point and decline of Industrial robots after years of rapid growth. At the same time, robots have begun to develop from industry to service, collaboration, and specialty types. How did emerging robots perform last year? Let’s do an analysis.
Rethink, the originator of collaborative robots, went through a glorious period last year and suddenly closed its doors. This is a huge change. Everyone has high hopes for collaborative robots and believes that it will be a great support for the development of robots in the future, but now there has been a huge change.
The future of service robots in the consumer field and medical health is the hope of robots, but now service robots are just applauded and not very popular, and the market has been mediocre. There is a very well-known company in China called Shanghai Tangbao Robot Co., Ltd., which is also thriving in the field of service robots. More importantly, this is No. 001 in the certificate issued by China as a certification body, indicating that they are in the field of service robots. status, but last year also closed its doors and the entire company went out of business, so the field of service robotics has gone through a lot of upheaval and change last year.
Under such huge challenges, the development of traditional industrial robots has been constrained to a certain extent, there has been an inflection point, the growth of a new generation of robots is sluggish, and new companies are constantly closing down. Is the winter of robots coming? Or is the robot now in the transition to spring, which is what China calls the “cold spring”, and is about to usher in new development opportunities? Let us analyze what development opportunities are there under such a serious and major challenge. Is the robot industry in China and the world facing a winter or a new spring?
Let’s make a brief summary: Industrial robots have several problems that lead to weak growth: first, the traditional advantageous market is shrinking, new markets have not formed, and more importantly, the low added value of robots cannot support the high investment in R&D innovation . We all know that robotics is a three-high industry, with high talent intensity, high technology intensity, and high investment intensity, but the added value of Chinese robots has become lower and lower in recent years. Although it is a high-tech product, the added value and high-tech products are If it does not match, it is difficult to ensure continuous investment, innovation and development of enterprises. There is also a major problem in the field of industrial robots. The harsh industrial environment is now dragging down various integration companies. There may be thousands of integration companies in China, but China’s payment terms and final settlement time cause many companies to lack cash flow, so integration It is difficult for a company to grow. Due to these severe challenges and problems, industrial robots have encountered certain difficulties and major inflection points in China.
The bubble of service robots has begun to burst, and many “angels” are turning into “devils”. How to support the market data is a big problem, and it is now entering a major reshuffle stage.
You can also see the special robots at the exhibition. Now it is urgent to break the cocoon into a butterfly, which is a transformation process. Although there are many product prototypes now, how to form an industry and bring it to the market requires a real phoenix nirvana.
Collaborative robots may be the best performers, and they have gradually entered the market and have been recognized by the entire industry, but there may be a big problem for collaborative robots to truly form a large industry.
So in this context, do we still have a chance? Is there still hope?
Major opportunities brought by technological breakthroughs and technological integration, because the current robot is no longer the concept of traditional mechanical and electronic equipment in the past, but a high-tech product that integrates artificial intelligence, information electronics, big data networks, and perception systems. Because of the integration and breakthrough of this new technology, the most critical point for robots is the growth of robots. If the robot has no growth potential, it is still not worth it to hold the world robotics conference here today, and it is not worthwhile for the experts and business representatives to sit down and study and listen to this report. . What’s the point of it? The growth of robots, because the growth of robots has brought earth-shaking changes to traditional industrial robots. More importantly, robots are constantly expanding and extending to other fields, including from manufacturing to medical care to health, defense, service and consumer fields , which is the hope and space for the real development of robots in the future.
Opportunities brought about by the change of manufacturing mode, the world is now entering a new era of Industry 4.0 of intelligent manufacturing, because the change of this manufacturing mode has given robots a huge market support and support. The reasons can be attributed to five elements: From labor shortage to labor cost, global overcapacity to personalization and customization of market demand, to the rapid iterative update of technology and products. Because of the changes in these elements, the current manufacturing mode has been withdrawn from the stage in batches, rigidity and large-scale, and has entered a new era of intelligent manufacturing and Industry 4.0. Because of this change in the manufacturing model, now we need a huge change in the factors of productivity. The first three industrial revolutions put more emphasis on efficiency, quality and cost, while the fourth industrial revolution puts more emphasis on flexibility, intelligence, and resources, which are also the resources of the entire society. Because this change in demand leads to changes in the factors of production, that is, the factors of production in the previous three industrial revolutions are more of the elements of human + machine equipment, and the fourth industrial revolution requires robots.
Why? Whether it is intelligent manufacturing or Industry 4.0, digital factories and digital manufacturing require that things are connected and connected, and big data information is constantly flowing. However, as a direct production factor, people cannot actually be interconnected with equipment Intercommunication and data flow, so we can say that the new manufacturing model is also a crowding out effect on human labor, and it is also a rigid binding effect on robots, thus creating significant market opportunities for robots.
New opportunities brought about by changes in production factors. The improvement of robot functions and performance is a huge change. Many companies could not use robots in the past, but they can now use them. More importantly, the cost and price of robots have dropped rapidly. In the past, many could not use robots. Enterprises with robots are now available in large quantities. Now it is the human factor that is fighting against the robot. There are also two curves here: the sharp reduction in the number of human labor, the rapid increase in the cost of human labor and the rapid increase in price. The interaction of these four factors just promotes the rapid introduction of robots to the market, so production Changes in elements have brought important development opportunities for robots.
According to the historical data of robot development in the past few years, the number of robots in the global robot market is about one million units in the past forty years before 2009. Let’s take a look at the past few years. From 2010 to 2015, it is again The growth rate of one million units is another million units from 2016 to 2018. Through such a triple jump, you can see that the robot has really entered a rapid step-by-step development process. Unlike the linear development process in the past, the real explosion time of the robot market has come, even if the global growth rate was zero last year, In six years, the development of the past forty years has been achieved.
Another data also provides strong support for the development of robots, that is, the density of robots. The world is only 0.85%, and China is 91%, which is less than 1%. This is the development density of robots in the past four decades. In the future, we expect that in five to ten years, the replacement rate of robots will reach more than 30%, and the development replacement rate in the past 40 years is less than 1%. You can see that the market for robots is really coming.
China is entering an era of intelligence +, and robots are just a huge platform for intelligence +, which can support the development of manufacturing, national defense and security, living consumption, medical care, education, transportation smart city, etc., and it is not just a simple replacement. It is a subversion and change, so from this aspect, robots are also ushering in rapid development.
Robot technology is in a period of great change, and this change provides us with major development opportunities, including breakthroughs in robot technology itself, rapid iteration of robot products, and cross-border integration of robot technology. Because of this great change, robots are Really evolve and develop from machines to robots.
The robot market is in a period of great transformation, from the communication market to the emerging market, which is the huge potential and support for the future development of robots.
China’s robot industry is in a period of adjustment and upgrading, that is, from the number of dozens to thousands of enterprises that were pursued in the past, now they are beginning to emphasize the quality of development, that is, from the low-level positioning in the past to the high-end development.
Chinese robot companies are in a period of shuffling and regeneration, that is, they have grown from savage growth to tens of thousands of companies in the past, and now they are starting to develop rationally. What advantages do companies have, how to accurately position them, and how to develop? The future hope of Chinese companies or Chinese industries.
What is our conclusion? Opportunities and challenges coexist, and change and subversion have become the norm. Everyone will no longer be spring because of the rapid development of robots, and winter if the development lags behind a little. The future development will definitely be wavy, which will definitely be the norm. The future wins in change, whether it is technological change or model change, this is the basic law of the future. More importantly, as an industry or a company, we want to create the future, and we cannot keep it, and Copy and Follow cannot produce the future. Integration and symbiosis, everyone is a platform for integration, and everyone is a platform for sharing, integration and win-win. This is the hope for the common development of the global robotics industry and experts in the future. Industry professionals come to China to negotiate and develop together, because this is the future trend.
We firmly believe that at present it is only a small turning point in the development of robots, and the real spring of future robots is coming, thank you all!
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