According to China Daily, Siasun Robot & Automation Co Ltd, China’s largest robot maker by market value, is seizing the chance to help Chinese companies crippled by more expensive human labor. Siasun is expanding its facilities and product offerings to accommodate growing domestic demand.
Currently, the company operates seven factories that are involved in production as well as research and development in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and three other Chinese cities. It is building two additional factories in Hangzhou and Shenyang, capitals of Zhejiang and Liaoning provinces.
The Shenyang-based robot maker sold 3,000 industrial robots in both China and to overseas markets last year, most to automotive companies. Total sales revenue reached $110.93 million. Sales to the United States, Canada, France, Singapore and another nine countries accounted for $31.8 million in sales last year.
With an investment of approximately $32 million, Siasun’s Hangzhou project will be completed next year. Its Shenyang project is expected to be operational in 2013.
The number of Siasun employees is expected to increase from a current workforce of 1,500 to 4,000 by the end of 2015.
According to, Qu Daokui, Siasun?s president, the need for more Chinese robots has been exacerbated by the high costs associated with maintaining robots from Europe, Japan and the U.S., whose after-market services and component parts must be imported as well.
Founded in 2000, Siasun initially focused on producing industrial robots for China’s fast-growing automobile market. A production line at an auto company with an annual capacity of 100,000 to 200,000 cars needs about 600 robots.
Last year, Chinese companies bought more than 22,000 robotic products, with about 52 percent of them used in the automobile industry, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. Chinese carmakers such as Geely Automobile, BYD Auto and Great Wall Motors have equipped their factories with robots and increased the number of robots to improve efficiency in what is usually a grueling work environment.
“There is no need to become an expert to discover the quality gap between Chinese cars and vehicles made by foreign companies like Volkswagen, Audi or Toyota,” Qu says. “Adopting better levels of equipment and technologies is the best way to compete.”
The company’s main automaker partners in China are Ford Motor Co, SAIC Motor, Brilliance Auto, Mazda Motor Corp and Dongfeng Motor Corp.
Siasun is investing $11.1 million in research and development this year to provide advanced robotics to the automobile industry. The company is delivering 28 spot welding robots to China FAW Group Corp, one of China’s top four automakers.
The company also supplies automated guided vehicles to Shanghai General Motors. Siasun exported 42 automated guided vehicles robots to General Motors’ headquarters in the US in 2010.
Siasun has also received a high volume of inquiries from traditional factories that are interested in robotic assistance, including clothing factories, shoemakers and electronics producers located in the Pearl River Delta, Yangtze River Delta and the Bohai Bay region.
In 2011, China invested about $1.6 trillion to upgrade the manufacturing sector, up 31.8 percent from 2010, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. The majority of that spending resulted in newer and better factories.
“What you find is a high level of investment in Chinese manufacturing, but most of this is not going to expanding production capacities. It’s making them more efficient and advanced,” says Zhao Ying, a researcher at the Institute of Industrial Economics of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.