More industrial robots will be operating in China's production plants than in the European Union or North America by 2017.
The International Federation of Robotics in its 2014 World Robot Statistics said that operating unit numbers in China will double from today's 200,000 to more than 400,000.
In North America, numbers will rise to about 300,000, with 340,000 predicted for Europe's five largest economies.
The automation of China's production plants had just started, according to Per Vegard Nerseth, managing director of ABB Robotics.
“As the first foreign robot manufacturer to arrive here, we have observed the market and developments for years now.
“We have witnessed swift, almost explosive growth over the last two or three years, surpassing even our expectations,” he said.
Four out of five industrial robots in China are made by foreign manufacturers — the majority from Japan, North America and Europe.