Japan Emerges as Top Robot Manufacturer

Japan ranks as the world´s number one industrial robot manufacturer, delivering 45 percent of the global supply.

In recent years, the country’s robot suppliers have increased their production capacity considerably. Japan’s export ratio rose to 78 percent in 2020, when 136,069 industrial robots were shipped. The International Federation of Robotics (IFR) published these results ahead of the International Robot Exhibition (iREX) in Tokyo, March 09 to 12, 2022.

“Exports of Japanese industrial robots on average had a compound annual growth rate of 6 percent in the last five years,” says Milton Guerry, President of the International Federation of Robotics. “At the same time, imports of robots have always been extremely low. In 2020, only 2 percent of Japanese installations were imported. The domestic Japanese robot market is the second largest in the world after China.”

Japan´s Success in China

Thirty-six percent of the Japanese exports of robotics and automation technology were destined for China. Like other international robot suppliers, Japanese manufacturers also serve the Chinese market directly from their factories in China. These factories on the world´s largest market for industrial robots proved to be a major advantage in 2020, when international supply chains were disrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Japanese suppliers were able to benefit comprehensively from the Chinese post-crisis boom that started in the second quarter of 2020. This trend gained momentum in the second half of the year.

Rebound from COVID-19 Pandemic

With a market share of 22 percent, the United States is the other top market for Japanese exports of robotics and automation technology. Both countries – the United States and China – are expected to further rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic. Together with the domestic market, the major export destinations will secure demand for Japanese robotics.

“Robots in Daily Life” – iREX Tokyo

“Japan is a highly robotized country and a global frontrunner in the use of robots for everyday life,”says Dr. Susanne Bieller, General Secretary of the International Federation of Robotics. “This year´s iREX exhibition in Tokyo will focus on ways towards a friendlier society, bridged by robots. iREX will display how robots are increasingly shaping our daily lives, e.g. by improving the quality and availability of the products we receive, the reduction of carbon emissions, health outcomes or care for elderly people.”