China will strive to make breakthroughs in key robotics technologies in order to be more competitive by 2020, Vice Minister of Industry and Information Technology Su Bo said on Monday.
"The ministry will map out a five-year plan for the industry in a bid to improve industrial standards, enhance capital input as well as step up policy support for the sector," said Su.
High-end equipment manufacturing, represented by robots, is an important standard for evaluating a nation's core industrial competence. The robotics sector can also contribute to helping manufacturers improve their product quality and deal with rising labor costs, he said.
China, which had a late start in robotics, must make quicker steps in catching up with competitors, he said. The robotics sector in China is currently dominated by foreign firms, with only 3 percent of robotics technologies being successfully utilized.
A report by the International Federation of Robotics predicted that demand for industrial robots is rising 25 percent annually in China, where sales are expected to reach 100,000 units by 2017 and total industrial robots in the country will top 400,000 units by that time.
Due to technological advancements, robots are increasingly being used in production for areas including medical care, vehicles, textiles, machinery, aviation, space flight and ship building.
A McKinsey report forecast that the application of advanced robots in manufacturing, medical care and service sectors could create a maximum value worth 4.5 trillion U.S. dollars by 2025.