BOFIT Viikkokatsaus / BOFIT Weekly 2019/41

The International Federation of Robotics (IFR) reports that about 154,000 new industrial robots were put into service in China last year, which was about 1 % fewer than the number of robots put into service in 2017. The country’s continuing pre-eminence in the robotics market can, however, be seen in the fact that just 131,000 new robots were taken into service last year for all of Europe and the Americas combined.

China has been the world’s biggest robot market since 2013. A decade ago the country accounted for less than 10 % of robot purchase globally but last year its share was 37 % (and 40 % in 2017). The IFR estimates that there are 649,000 industrial robots currently in use in China, i.e. 27 % of the global robot stock.

With the China’s rapid adoption of robots, its robot density (140 robots per 10,000 workers) clearly surpasses the global average (99 robots) and is comparable to Finland’s robot density. China still has a way to go to reach the level of the top users of robots, however. In terms of robot density, the leading countries are Singapore (831), South Korea (774), Germany (338) and Japan (327). US robot density is 217.

Last year about 422,000 new robots were installed at industrial facilities around the world, a 6 % increase from 2017. The stock of robots in use rose to 2.44 million units. Asia accounted for 68 % of new robot installations globally last year, followed by Europe with 18 % and North and South America with a combined total of 14 %.