Several Chinese government agencies have jointly released a set of ambitious goals to increase automation in manufacturing, as the country targets global leadership in bringing robots on to the factory floor, reports the South China Morning Post. In a five-year plan the agencies, including the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, state that China aims to achieve a minimum annual growth of 20% in robotics sales, and develop a group of industry champions to double the “robot density” of the world’s most populous country.
China has become one of the most aggressive countries in replacing human labor with machines, partly to cope with the country’s aging and shrinking workforce. According to a report from the International Federation of Robotics this month, China last year ranked 9th in robot density—measured by the number of robot units per 10,000 employees—up from 25th five years earlier.
With a robot density of 246 per 10,000 employees, China still lagged behind South Korea, which has a current density of 932 and has ranked first since 2010. Still, China’s level was well above the global average of 126, and close to the United States’ 255.