Big industrial robot manufacturers looking to move into China

yaskawa china
Picture courtesy of Dr Miha Pipan

The huge and growing demand for industrial robots in China is prompting the world’s largest industrial robot makers to look into setting up operations in the country. 

In particular, Japanese companies are said to be profiting from China’s huge increase in demand for industrial robots.

Statistics collated by the Japan Robot Association show that the country exported around $4.4 billion worth of industrial robots to China in 2016.  Continue reading Big industrial robot manufacturers looking to move into China

China’s enthusiasm for robots and electric cars creating oversupply of clean technology

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A jade-polishing robot produced by the HIT Robot Group, one of China’s largest robot makers

China’s enthusiasm for new technology, combined with its paranoia about being left behind in a globally intensifying high-tech competition, sometimes leads it to create small bubbles in its economy which may or may not dissipate in the disciplined manner in which the markets they encompass may have emerged in the first place. 

Two years ago, the government of the world’s most populous nation of 1.4 billion people launched a 10-year national plan to “transform China from a manufacturing giant into a world manufacturing power”, in the words of XinhuaNet, the state propaganda outlet.  Continue reading China’s enthusiasm for robots and electric cars creating oversupply of clean technology

Chinese government’s plan to grow robotics and automation industry seems to be working

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Robot waiting staff at a restaurant in China. Picture courtesy: TheRobotReport.com

China’s plan to expand the nation’s robotics and automation industry seems to be working, according to a new survey by TheRobotReport.com

The website tracks robotics companies worldwide and editor Frank Tobe says he wrote about 194 robot companies in China in 2015, but now that number has more than doubled to greater than 500.

The Chinese government launched a “robot revolution” as part of its Made in China 2025 program a couple of years ago, partly because it has become the world’s biggest buyer of robots and would like some of those robots to be made by domestic companies.  Continue reading Chinese government’s plan to grow robotics and automation industry seems to be working

How China’s ‘copycat’ tech companies are now the ones to beat

made in china label

By Edward Tse, CEO of Gao Feng 

For a long time, Chinese companies have been known for copying market-proven products, brands and business models from the West and adapting them for the local market with only minor modifications. Such a phenomenon is known as shanzhai, a Chinese term that was originally used to describe a bandit stronghold outside government control. In today’s slang, it refers to businesses based on fake or pirated products.

Shanzhai has been prevalent in China in recent decades and this has earned China the reputation of being a “copycat nation”. Western media report that China’s preferential policies and regulations to restrict market access, such as the the “Great Firewall” in the internet industry, and the lack of intellectual property protection, give Chinese companies an unfair home advantage to create copies.

While shanzhai is common across a range of products and services, it is particularly prevalent in the internet sector. Chinese internet companies are often compared to their Western counterparts based on the similarity of their business models. For example, Baidu is known as the “Google of China”, Alibaba as the “eBay of China”, and Xiaomi as the “Apple of China”, just to name a few.  Continue reading How China’s ‘copycat’ tech companies are now the ones to beat

Trump policy on China: Playing hardball

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By Edward Tse, Gao Feng Advisory

Donald Trump’s recent appointment of Peter Navarro to head his newly formed White House National Trade Council has sparked controversy.

Navarro is known for his hawkish views on China and many believe that, by appointing him, the US president-elect is signalling that he will play hardball with China on trade when he takes office.

Navarro has written a number of books and filmed a documentary in which he criticised China for unfair trade practices, especially with the US. He has called China “a cheat”, “brutal” and “amoral”.

Instead of launching a trade war, collaboration is the way to go.  Continue reading Trump policy on China: Playing hardball

Four reasons why Trump will learn a Chinese Lesson on how isolationism never works

donald trump

By Edward Tse, Gao Feng Advisory

Donald Trump’s election as the next US president is generating a lot of speculation about US-China relations, especially in investment and trade. People are wondering what the implications will be for both Chinese and US companies.

We can look at this situation in several ways.

First, isolationism can never generate sustainable growth for any country. History has proven this over and over again. Continue reading Four reasons why Trump will learn a Chinese Lesson on how isolationism never works

‘Chinese companies lead the way in fintech innovation’

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China-based investment expert Edward Tse, CEO of Gao Feng, says financial technology companies are thriving in China 

With the Chinese government keen to encourage innovation the fintech revolution is quickly gaining pace. Financial technologies companies backed by Chinese venture capital raised $2.4 billion in the first quarter of 2016, according to accounting firm KPMG.

This represented a 49 per cent share of global fintech investment in the period, bigger than that of North America and Europe combined.

Ant Financial Services Group, Alibaba Group Holding’s fintech affiliate, itself raised $4.5 billion in April, making it the largest round of funding for a fintech company in the world.  Continue reading ‘Chinese companies lead the way in fintech innovation’

Rethink Robotics signs exclusive distribution deal with Hunan Cothink in China

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Hunan Cothink will distribute Sawyer and Baxter robots throughout the country

Rethink Robotics has reached an exclusive agreement with collaborative robotics provider Hunan Cothink Robotics Technology Company to distribute its robots to the entire Chinese manufacturing community.

Rethink Robotics and Hunan Cothink originally announced a partnership in February of this year that awarded Hunan Cothink distribution rights in northern and southern China, but the success of the relationship and the demand for Rethink Robotics’ smart, collaborative robots has led to a new, exclusive deal that covers the entire Chinese geography.

Earlier this year, Hunan Cothink was formed as a separate division with a new sales and support organization that is designed to bring Rethink’s robots to the Chinese market and help Chinese manufacturers build smarter factories. Hunan Cothink also distributes Rethink Robotics’ Baxter robot worldwide.  Continue reading Rethink Robotics signs exclusive distribution deal with Hunan Cothink in China

Chinese manufacturing industry setting itself copy deadline

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Picture of Haima Mazda factory, China, by John Lloyd

China-based investment expert Edward Tse, CEO of Gao Feng, says Chinese manufacturers have progressed from being considered “shanzai” – copycats – to embracing the idea of becoming developers of advanced robotics and automation systems

Chinese electrical appliance manufacturer Midea’s move to acquire Kuka, the German robot maker, could be a defining moment in the evolution of China’s manufacturing sector.

China’s reliance on low-cost, labour-intensive manufacturing to power its immense economy is no longer attractive, mainly due to the rise in labour and other costs.

The world’s second-largest economy needs to seek alternative ways to grow and companies like Midea are showing the way.  Continue reading Chinese manufacturing industry setting itself copy deadline

Midea to spend billions on building industrial robots after buying Kuka

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Household appliance manufacturer Midea says it will spend 10 billion Chinese money (approximately $1.5 billion) on building new robots, according to a report in the South China Morning Post

Midea, a Chinese company which now owns 95 per cent of Germany-based industrial robot maker Kuka, will build a factory to produce 7,000 robots a year, says the report.

The announcement is said to confirm Midea’s ambition to become the leading robot maker in China. The country is estimated to have bought and installed almost 70,000 industrial robots last year.

Full story at South China Morning Post

Kuka reports record orders

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Kuka says it has generated record levels of business across its units, with almost €900 million worth of orders placed in the second quarter of 2016. The figure represents a 28 per cent increase on the previous year’s profits. 

In it robotics division, earnings increased to €25.5 million in the past quarter, says the company in a report.

Kuka, a Germany-based company established in 1898, is one of the world’s leading industrial robot manufacturers.

In recent weeks it has been the subject of a takeover bid by Chinese company Midea, which makes electrical appliances.

Midea says it currently has more than 80 per cent of Kuka’s shares, according to Bloomberg.com, which would seem to mean that Midea now owns Kuka.

 

HIT Robot Group in talks with 50 companies as a result of Automatica event

hit robot group

Chinese company HIT Robot Group says it is in negotiations with 50 companies it came into contact with during this year’s Automatica exhibition.

In exclusive comments to Robotics and Automation News, an insider at HRG says the company is at various stages of negotiations with the potential partners, and hopes to finalise deals soon with at least eight of them.

HRG claims to be China’s leading robot producer, and says it drew “rave reviews” at Automatica 2016, an international exhibition for automation and robotics in Munich, Germany.

HRG boasts that it could play a role as a “golden partner” for overseas companies keen on exploring the huge potential of the Chinese market. China has been the biggest buyer of industrial robots in recent years.  Continue reading HIT Robot Group in talks with 50 companies as a result of Automatica event

German Chancellor Angela Merkel looking for a ‘good solution’ in response to Chinese bid for Kuka Robots

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Chancellor Angela Merkel says she does not see why there cannot be a German solution to the Chinese takeover of Kuka Robots

Chancellor Angela Merkel is reported by Reuters news agency as saying she is looking for a “good solution” in response to the Chinese takeover bid for Kuka, one of the biggest industrial robot manufacturers in the world.

Midea, a Chinese producer of household appliances, recently offered $5 billion to take over Kuka, and the robot-maker’s chairman, Dr Till Reuter, has already said the bid “can support our strategy”.

However, Dr Reuter’s apparently positive vibes has many in Germany seething and looking for a counter-offer which will keep Kuka under German control.  Continue reading German Chancellor Angela Merkel looking for a ‘good solution’ in response to Chinese bid for Kuka Robots

Kuka takeover bid welcomed by Reuter, according to Reuters

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Dr Till Reuter, chief executive of Kuka

The boss of Kuka has welcomed the takeover bid by Chinese company Midea, according to the Reuters news agency. 

Dr Till Reuter, chief executive of Kuka, is said to have made the comments at a shareholders’ meeting today.

Speaking of the proposal by Midea, Dr Reuter says: “The bid, as it has been announced, can support our strategy.”   Continue reading Kuka takeover bid welcomed by Reuter, according to Reuters