Asia’s Robot Revolution

robotRobots in Asia are becoming increasingly prevalent.  China and Japan seem to be the leaders in the robotic revolution, but the whole of Asia is being subject to these machinery assistant that are now to be seen in hospitals, retail stores, warehouses and more. Patent lawyers can attest to the substantial increase in filings for robotics technology, so much so that patent research firm IFI Claims have stated there has been a tripling of annual filings over the last 10 years.

Even though America leads the way vis-à-vis robotic software, China is ahead of the game in hardware manufacturing expertise.  It seems that robotics have become the country’s “national priority” and thus the race begins between east and west for which country will come out trumps in this new industry.

Just recently in Beijing, Americans and Europeans joined the Chinese in its Global Mobile Internet Conference.  It was predicted by the International Federation of Robotics that China will be subject to the most industrial robots working in factories by next year than any other country.  This is good for Asia as a whole, but it will be taking the place of Japan.  At an estimated $9.5 billion, China’s robot market is one of the largest in the world.

And that is just the beginning.  By 2020, China said if all goes according to plan, its production of industrial robots will be tripled, increasing production of approximately 33,000 annual units to 100,000.

It seems like a great place to make an investment.  Indeed, according to CB Insights, in 2015, VC investments more than doubled to a staggering $587 million. This includes private equity investors who want to build robot investment portfolios, and new incubators like Playground. Another reason it’s becoming an increasingly popular investment option is the price drop: over the last four years, there has been an average 14% price drop for industrial robots, all this while their capacities are increasing.


Rising Asian VC Investments

investIn the second quarter of 2015 there was a significant increase in venture capital investments in the Asian region. The total was over half of America’s level ($19.2bn), coming in at $10.5bn. It has been suggested that this large number was due in part to a slew of deals that have been aimed at developing digital champions in parts of Asia.

As well, according to a study put out by CB Insights for KPMG, this boost is said to have been “the most prominent feature of a global surge in start-up investing this year.”

The flipside of this surge is how it makes Europe look. Even though that region has been encountering a slight development, it’s not nearly on the same par as what has been transpiring in Asia. And this of course has an impact on the global economy.

As well, while looking at Asia as a whole might be extremely positive, in July, China’s factory industry “appeared to be contracting at the fastest pace in 15 months.” Indeed, there was a plummet of Asian stocks possibly as a result of pessimistic data from China at the end of last month. The Shanghai composite index went down to 8.47%, marking its worst performance in three weeks.

So despite the increase in Asian VC investments, the region is not completely out of the woods yet.