(Economic Observation) The robotics industry that capital enthusiastically welcomes may usher in a "big reshuffle"

  China News Service, Wuhu, Anhui, September 14 (Reporter Pang Wuji) Capital is a double-edged sword.

This sentence is particularly prominent in the Chinese robot industry which is still in the growth stage.

Since the beginning of this year, the capital boom has once again swept the robotics industry.

But for companies, this is a mixed blessing.

  The 11th China International Robot Summit Forum and the 7th Capek Award Ceremony were held in Wuhu City, Anhui Province on the 14th.

More than 600 people including experts in the field of robotics and intelligent manufacturing, and corporate executives attended the conference.

  Huang He, a partner of Northern Light Venture Capital, said that according to incomplete statistics, there were 112 financings in the robotics industry in the first half of 2021, with a financing amount of up to 13 billion yuan (RMB, the same below), and the average single financing reached 116 million yuan.

Such a high number has never appeared in the past 10 years.

  Taking collaborative robots in the market segment of robots as an example, Huang He pointed out that (calculated based on this year's financing data) the amount of funds invested in the primary market in a year is four times the overall size of its market last year.

  Domestic and foreign technology giants have also ended.

Recently, Xiaomi released CyberDog, a four-legged bionic robot, Baidu released a car robot, Tesla launched a humanoid robot, and Xiaopeng Motors also launched an intelligent robot horse.

For a time, the robot race track became an important area of ​​capital competition.

  In fact, the scale of China's industrial robot industry has ranked first in the world for eight consecutive years.

Xin Guobin, deputy minister of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, recently revealed that China has become the backbone of supporting the development of the world's robotics industry. In 2020, the scale of the industry will exceed 100 billion yuan for the first time.

  However, China's robot industry is still in the early stages of development.

Chen Xuedong, chief engineer of China National Machinery Industry Corporation and academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, told China News Agency that the products in the robotics industry are still dominated by low-end products, which are homogeneous and lack competitiveness.

Although after years of development, some core technologies including reducers, servo motors, etc. have achieved certain breakthroughs, but compared with the international advanced level, there is still a big gap.

  Huang He said that the nature of the robotics industry is still manufacturing. It takes a long time to grasp customer needs and launch mature products. It also needs to cross multiple thresholds such as design, large-scale manufacturing, and craftsmanship.

These factors make it difficult for the capital to tell stories about "prestigious schools, experts, and high-tech", as well as the Internet and other ways of burning money to compete in this industry.

  Of course, capital can bring development opportunities and high-end talents to enterprises.

Wu Jiangfeng, partner and deputy general manager of Astro Robot, told a reporter from China News Agency: "After capital comes in, we have money to dig people, and we can dig people from high-paying industries such as the Internet. We want technological breakthroughs and talents. Most important".

  On the other hand, industry insiders pointed out that the influx of capital also has side effects, such as pushing up industry costs, leading to failure of the market mechanism of "survival of the fittest", and even "bad money driving out good money".

  When talking about the development dilemma, many practitioners in the field of industrial robots admitted to a reporter from China News Agency that they "cannot make money."

The reason is that the size of the market is so large, but there are too many companies.

Many companies choose to "fight a price war", vicious competition, if forced to fight, it means a significant reduction in profit margins.

  Suo Liyang, general manager of Petian Robotics, said that in fact, China's robotics industry is growing every year, but the growth rate is not particularly fast, because it is consistent with the degree of automation of the country's overall industry.

Many industries are not yet suitable for promoting robots and robotic arms.

The more complicated the human operation is, the more difficult it is to be replaced by robots.

  In the future, the industry still has great development prospects.

However, Soliyang believes that the current annual demand for industrial robots in China is about 200,000 units, and there are already "four major families" including robots (Fanuc, Yaskawa, Switzerland, ABB, Germany) in the market. If the market size of the domestic international brands does not increase significantly, it may only be enough to feed 7-8 domestic brands.

And now there are more than 30 active robot companies, not to mention relatively low-key small companies.

  Due to the continuous "blood transfusion" of capital, some robot companies that currently lack core technology and competitiveness can survive and even participate in the "price war".

Huang He explained that with the funds provided by huge financing to try and make mistakes, test products, test technologies, and also test business models, you may be able to live to find the market one day.

  But when the capital ebbs, an industry reshuffle may be inevitable, and mergers and reorganizations between companies will also increase.

Wu Jiangfeng said that he is very optimistic about the company's current "big daily chemical business".

But there is also a sense of crisis, and we must desperately run forward and engage in technology research and development to avoid being eliminated.