China aims to top global workforce automation rankings

China aims to increase its robots from 36 per 10,000 workers to 150 per 10,000 workers by 2020, to become one of the top countries in terms of workforce automation.

Currently, China is ranked just 28th globally in terms of workforce automation, despite having the world’s largest manufacturing sector, employing around 100 million people. The Chinese government seeks to “modernise” the industry.

A statement by China’s National Development and Reform Commission cited the ageing population and rising labour costs as the two main reasons the government is encouraging the development of the robotic industry and modernisation of the manufacturing sector. According to the 2016 Global Manufacturing Competitiveness Index, the nation’s labour force costs in 2015 were five times that of 2005.

According to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), China aims to increase sales of domestically produced industrial robots to 100,000 per year and boost the share of the domestic market held by Chinese robotic manufacturers. The IFR predicts that by 2020, China will have more robots per person than any other country.