Nagano, Japan-based Harmo Co. Ltd. is opening at least two sales offices in mainland China. Zuisetsu Su, vice representative of the Shanghai office, said the company's sales in China are growing steadily.
He did not reveal details about the new offices.
Harmo makes precision robots in its two factories in Nagano. In the Chinese market, the made-in-Japan robots are used for the information technology industry and small auto parts. To control quality, Su said, all components are made in Japan as well.
Despite the growth of Harmo's sales in China, overall market prices have dropped, Su said. Besides the narrower profit margin, the robot maker said the Chinese market now has too many distributors and is not well-regulated. For example, he said, a processor called Harmo for technical service, but it turned out the robot was not made or sold by Harmo.
``At a glance, that machine looks exactly like ours,'' he said. ``They can copy the looks but not the inside core.''
Although knockoffs are not a major concern now, Su said, ``it is very hard to tell what the situation will be in a few years.''
Harmo currently runs one incorporated subsidiary in China, Shanghai Harmo Machinery Co. Ltd. Asian operations also include a branch in Hong Kong, subsidiaries in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, and local headquarters in Vietnam and Indonesia.