Samsung Electronics, South Korea’s largest consumer electronics company, has reportedly managed to rope in the country’s government to invest $14.8 million over the next three years to jointly develop components that will give the country’s robotics sector a boost. According to South Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, manufacturing more robotic parts in the country will not only lower the overall cost of industrial machinery, but will also make companies like Samsung less reliant on cheap labor in manufacturing hubs like China. Of late, the surge in salaries in China has been affecting the profit margins of companies like Samsung, which is exactly why automating the process of manufacturing precision electronics like mobile phones is something the South Korean government is taking very seriously.
Speaking about its plans to invest in the robotics sector, the country’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said, “Emphasis will be placed on developing precision speed reducers, motors, controllers and sensor encoders that are currently expensive and imported from abroad. Development of these parts should be completed by late 2018”. Looking to justify its decision to invest taxpayer money into the private sector, the ministry also sought to point out that, “Once affordable robots reach the market and are more widely used, it can lead to the creation of ‘smart factories’ and bring about far-reaching innovations to the manufacturing sector”. The ministry also let it be known that all products developed as part of the newly announced joint-venture between Samsung and the national government will be used to help out SMEs (small and medium enterprises) in the country.
According to South Korea’s Yonhap news agency, the global robotics market is still a fairly nich one, with overall revenues of $10.7 billion, with an annual growth rate of as much as 22 percent over the past six years. Analysts have generally been bullish on the market, and some have even predicted that the industry can potentially experience an average yearly growth rate of 18 percent over the next three years, thereby increasing the use of robotics in manufacturing to as much as 25 percent of everything manufactured in the country by the year 2025. Currently, that figure stands at a measly 10 percent.