Southeast Asia Catches Up in Global Robotics Race

Source: iStock

Europe may have experience with industrial automation, and North America is known for its risk-taking, innovative corporate cultures, but many observers agree that Asia is the continent to watch when it comes to automation. What foreign businesses may not know is that Southeast Asia presents opportunities for robots, drones, artificial intelligence, and autonomous vehicles.

In this free download, Robotics Business Review looks at the similarities and differences among Asian countries in terms of their government policies, university research, and commercial markets.

We start by looking at the titans of robotics technology — China, Japan, and South Korea. Each of these nations has a strong manufacturing base and government leadership, but they also face challenges such as aging populations.

Despite China’s current trade disputes with the U.S. and regional concerns about the South China Sea, the robotics industry is likely to continue growing there, thanks in part to the “Made in China 2025” initiative and partnerships across Southeast Asia. Leading robotics providers in Japan and South Korea are forging their own alliances.

Then, Abishur Prakash analyzes robotics development and usage in Malaysia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam. Southeast Asia may not be as industrialized or prosperous as its northern neighbors, yet each country is pursuing automation leadership.

Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. Source: iStock

From its “Robotic Future City” concept and tax incentives to deals with China, Malaysia is positioning itself to be a robotics player.

In comparison, the Philippines has experience providing customer support to the West, a tradition of educational excellence, and the need for drones for disaster relief. Whether its government can effectively promote robotics R&D remains to be seen.

Sri Lanka is smaller than its neighbors in Southeast Asia, and robotics is just getting started there, according to research firm IDC. It has fewer regulations, recent experiments with remote surgery, and interest in increasing the number of women in its workforce.

Last but not least, Vietnam has a relatively young population, interest in robotics for agriculture and smart cities, and funding help from China and Japan. It also has a lack of centralized policy and a perceived threat to supply chain and textile jobs for humans (similar to outsourced call centers in the Philippines).

Robotics businesses looking for talent or new markets should consider Southeast Asia. This whitepaper is a first step in guiding global companies as they carefully choose partners and customers to remain competitive.

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