ABB Robotics celebrates 20 years in the Chinese market

Head of ABB Robotics, Per Vegard Nerseth, takes the stage in Shanghai.

ABB Robotics Asia Value Provider Conference was full of reminiscence on an incredible past, as well as looking forward to the potential of the future.

As more than 1,000 attendees descended on Shanghai last week to take part in ABB Robotics annual event dedicated to sharing new technology and ideas with our Asian partners, it was immediately clear that it had more significance than the other events that have preceded it. In 2014 ABB Robotics is celebrating two important milestones: 40 years in business and 20 years in China—both of which are longer than any other major modern robotics manufacturer.

The local Chinese team certainly made the most of the event, with informative presentations, hands-on training, live robotics demonstrations and some surprising entertainment. But most of all, it was a celebration of our customers in the Asian market. Without them we wouldn’t have gotten to where we are today.

“Over the past 20 years we have seen incredible growth in the Asian market, which is now the largest and fastest growing market for robotics in the world,” said Li Gang, Head of ABB Robotics China, during his opening remarks. “At these informative and fun Value Provider events, we can all keep current with technological innovations, expand our horizons and share our success—but most importantly we can explore together with our partners how to embrace the explosive growth we are seeing in the robotics business in Asia and around the world.”

In fact, we all got a bit of a history lesson from Li that helped to place everything in context. During the past three decades, as Li expressed, China has become the world’s factory through an opening of its markets and reform of its system. With all this change China is now facing new challenges and demands.

“Concerns about product quality, productivity, cost pressures, the difficulty of finding employees and the health and safety of those employees have a much larger emphasis within China,” said Li. “These are the issues that China has to tackle to make the transition from ‘Made in China’ to ‘Created in China.’ In the past two centuries we have made a transition from the mechanical era to the electronic era, and now we are marching towards the third era—the Smart era. In this era robots will do the jobs that are unhealthy and dangerous and will present a huge opportunity for smart manufacturing. The industrial robot will become even more important over the next decades in Asia and around the world—and we happily envision such a future.”

In fact, the explosive growth in the robotics market isn’t restricted to Asia—we are seeing it happen all around the world even in the face of turbulent times and spurts and stops from the economy.

“2013 was our best ever year in ABB Robotics and this year we are on track for yet another record-breaking year in which we will sell our 250,000th robot.” said Per Vegard Nerseth, Head of ABB Robotics globally, as he shared the stage with Li. “The market is growing and moving like an unstoppable train. Every month we see new industries and segments entering the robotics market as new technologies and increased ease-of-use provide opportunity for them. We truly are on the verge of an explosion.”

“2014 marks ABB Robotics 40th year in the robotics industry and its 20th year in China,” continued Nerseth. “These are two very significant milestones, but even though we are proud of them, we can’t rely on what we’ve done in the past, which is why we are constantly innovating and creating new products to support new applications and make it easier than ever to integrate robots into factories.”

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About the author

Sidney Chen

I am the Marketing Communications Manager of ABB Robotics in China. I joined ABB in 2004, working for local Division Marketing Communications function for Automation Technology Division, Automation Products Division, Discrete Automation and Process Automation Division successively before joining Robotics in 2012.
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