'Workshop of the World' China Bets on a Robot Revolution - NBC New York
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'Workshop of the World' China Bets on a Robot Revolution



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    In this Aug. 21, 2015 photo, a Chinese woman works amid orange robot arms at Rapoo Technology factory in southern Chinese industrial boomtown of Shenzhen. Factories in China are rapidly replacing those workers with automation, a pivot that’s encouraged by rising wages and new official directives aimed at helping the country move away from low-cost manufacturing as the supply of young, pliant workers shrinks.

    Demand for robots in China has quadrupled in the last four years, making it home to nearly a quarter of the world's industrial robots, according to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR). And by 2018, the IFR estimates that more than one-third of the world's industrial robots will be installed in China.

    "I think the robot industry in China is at its beginning stage," says Yu Kai, CEO of Beijing-based Horizon Robotics Inc. "More and more robots in the factory is not a trend that can be reversed."

    China's factories face an uncertain future as the country's economic growth slows and its manufacturing sector begins to give way too service industries. For many factory owners, robots are essential to their bottom-line.