Just The Facts

Push for Automation: South Korea Vs. China

China hopes to shift production from low-wage human labor to robots, as South Korea has done.

Takeaways


  • As of 2016, 631 robots were deployed per 10,000 workers in South Korea's manufacturing sector.
  • China has 68 robots per 10,000 manufacturing workers. Its future economic strategy will increase its reliance on industrial robots.
  • Korea’s automotive industry has 2,145 robots per 10,000 employees.

1. South Korea, a country with a population of 50 million, has the highest robot density in the world.

2. As of 2016, 631 robots were deployed per 10,000 workers in the country’s industrial manufacturing sector.

3. Among major economies, that density was more than double second-ranked Germany (309 robots per 10,000 workers) and newly third-ranked Japan (303), where the density is falling. It was also more than three times denser than the United States (189).

4. While China currently has only 68 robots per 10,000 manufacturing workers, its leadership has determined that the country’s future economic strategy will rely on industrial robots.

5. To that end, China is making major investments to expand its presence in the market for producing industrial robots.

6. This includes Chinese electrical appliance maker Midea Group’s July 2016 acquisition of German robot maker KUKA, which was ranked as sixth worldwide by installations.

7. Certain industries are much more heavily automated than others. Korea’s automotive industry, for example, has 2,145 robots per 10,000 employees.

8. This compares to 475 robots per 10,000 workers in all other Korean industries.

Sources: The Globalist Research Center, International Federation of Robotics, Bloomberg, Robotics & Automation News

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