In Asian Robotics Industry Race, India Goes Its Own Way

In the News
May 18, 2016

A survey of national strategies for developing the robotics industry across Asia finds India taking a different path.

Robots are here. The robotics industry is transforming the world. Not only are companies and consumers feeling the heat; countries are feeling it, too, particularly around Asian robotics.

In March, when a South Korean national and champion lost to Google’s AlphaGo program in the ancient Chinese game of Go, the whole of South Korea felt it. To many, it was more like a national defeat than one person losing to artificial intelligence.

What did South Korea do next?

The government quickly set up a $860 million fund for AI. It invited several leading South Korean firms to work together. The goal is to not only reassure its citizens, but also get ready for tomorrow.

On the other side of the world, Belarus is a nation of nearly 10 million people in Europe. Belarus has announced that it would invest $1 billion by 2020 in various areas including robotics. Many people outside Europe may not even know where Belarus is located, let alone associate the country with advanced technologies.

In the past, some countries might have felt that they could not advance because of one variable or another, but automation is reinventing the game for everybody. Nations large and small are starting to realize how important the robotics industry has become to trade, to talent, and to treasure (prosperity).

For now, countries are joining the race in two ways: through entrepreneurship or national policy. Which way is India heading? What is the rest of Asia doing?

Japan’s PM wants robots everywhere

Japan wants to generate almost $22 billion in sales from robotics by 2020. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is so enthusiastic about robotics that he wants the big Japanese firms to take robotics to every corner of the Japanese economy and society.

He has established the Robot Revolution Initiative Council to make it happen and overcome local obstacles.

From hotels to hospitals to homes, all kinds of robots are indeed entering Japanese society and economy.

China spends on even more robots

In 2014, China bought 56,000 units, becoming the biggest buyer of industrial robots in the world, according to the International Federation of Robotics. That was just the beginning.

On one hand, China is offering $150 billion in subsidies to local companies to adopt robotics. On the other hand,...

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