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The Rise of Robots in China

Author

Listed:
  • Hong Cheng
  • Ruixue Jia
  • Dandan Li
  • Hongbin Li

Abstract

China is the world's largest user of industrial robots. In 2016, sales of industrial robots in China reached 87,000 units, accounting for around 30 percent of the global market. To put this number in perspective, robot sales in all of Europe and the Americas in 2016 reached 97,300 units (according to data from the International Federation of Robotics). Between 2005 and 2016, the operational stock of industrial robots in China increased at an annual average rate of 38 percent. In this paper, we describe the adoption of robots by China's manufacturers using both aggregate industry-level and firm-level data, and we provide possible explanations from both the supply and demand sides for why robot use has risen so quickly in China. A key contribution of this paper is that we have collected some of the world's first data on firms' robot adoption behaviors with our China Employer-Employee Survey (CEES), which contains the first firm-level data that is representative of the entire Chinese manufacturing sector.

Suggested Citation

  • Hong Cheng & Ruixue Jia & Dandan Li & Hongbin Li, 2019. "The Rise of Robots in China," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 33(2), pages 71-88, Spring.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:33:y:2019:i:2:p:71-88
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.33.2.71
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Szunomár, Ágnes, 2019. "A digitális nagy ugrás. Lassulás és modernizációs stratégiaváltás Kínában
      [The great digital leap. Deceleration and a change in modernisation strategy in China]
      ," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(12), pages 1312-1346.
    2. Bernardo S. Buarque & Ronald B. Davies & Dieter Franz Kogler & Ryan M. Hynes, 2019. "OK Computer: The Creation and Integration of AI in Europe," Working Papers 201911, School of Economics, University College Dublin.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • L23 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Organization of Production
    • M11 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Production Management
    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology
    • P23 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Factor and Product Markets; Industry Studies; Population

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