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Robotics, smart manufacturing dominate megacity's planning

By Li Fusheng (China Daily USA) Updated : 2017-06-08

Local authorities in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, are stepping up their efforts to boost development of smart equipment and robotics.

In 2016, the city produced 2,287 industrial robots, a 31.7 percent rise year-on-year, bringing the industrial output of smart equipment and robotics to around 49 billion yuan ($7.16 billion) last year, according to official statistics.

The government is drafting a five-year plan dedicated to IT, artificial intelligence and biomedicine and is planning to appropriate 150 million yuan each year to boost their development. It is building a robot innovation center for the province.

Guangzhou has already established a solid basis for the sector's development and is home to some of the nation's leading companies.

Guangzhou Risong Technology, established in 2012, specializes in the research and development, production and sale of robots, as well as smart technology and equipment. A top 10 player in China, it generated operating revenue of 530 million yuan in 2016.

Sinomach Intelligence was established in 2015 by China National Machinery Industry and the Guangzhou city government.

With registered capital of 1 billion yuan, it develops, produces and tests robots, smart equipment and their key components.

Already one of the city's leading companies in the sector, it is expected to generate annual output worth 10 billion yuan in five years, according to the company.

As Shenyang Siasun Robot & Automation has chosen Guangzhou as its base in South China, the city is expected to become the largest base of robot production in the country.

Guangzhou companies are leading the industry in terms of voice recognition and processing, as well as in drone development.

IFlytek's voice assistants are powering household devices and business software. Specializing in voice and speech technologies, iFlytek has won many international competitions in speech synthesis and in translation between Chinese and other languages.

It has also beaten Apple in speech recognition in the Chinese language, according to the Chinese Academy of Sciences. IFlytek has 44 percent of the voice recognition and processing market in China.

Ehang debuted the world's first human-carrying drone at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in 2016. The drone, called Ehang 184, has won orders from the Dubai government to use in the city's smart transportation system.

Robots and smart equipment are also being applied to the city, ranging from car manufacturing to chemical engineering and traditional Chinese medicine.

According to local authorities, more than 600 companies in the city have production lines using robots.

BAIC Motor is building a plant in Guangzhou featuring 70 robots to weld car bodies, 90 to paint and 80 to transport. Several other carmakers in the city, including GAC Honda and GAC Toyota, are each using around 400 robots in their plants.