China has been warned of an approaching robot bubble fuelled by Beijing's desire to massively overdevelop the internal automation market.
Worried by sluggish growth and ominous warnings of an imminent slowdown, the Chinese state wants to build an army of robotic workers. It plans to create five robotics "champion" firms which will churn out some 13,000 robots every single year.
China is already the world's biggest user of robots, but relies on foreign imports for three quarters of its total stock of automatons.
However, by sticking to this policy Beijing risks creating a robotics bubble, warned Stefan Sack, CEO of robot manufacturer Comau Shanghai Engineering.
He said robot-building firms were "coming up like mushrooms".
"Government intervention can help industry to grow but it can also create bubbles," Sack warned, while adding: "Everybody wants to become a robot manufacturer now because it's sexy."
A business research organisation called the Conference Board recently warned (in the Wall Street Journal) that China faces “a long, slow fall in economic growth". Beijing feels that productivity could be easily boosted by building an army of robotic workers, who can work every hour that god sends without demanding holidays, a pay rise or duvet days. ®