May 31, 2015
Abstract: The global sales for industrial robots have been rising sharply over the years, as robots are seen as the next generation of machine tools — extremely fast, precise and flexible in switching tasks. However, since robots can replace workers in many areas, their rapid penetration into manufacturing activities has significant implications for people-abundant economies.
With rapid increases in wages threatening its global cost competitiveness, China — a very populous country — has paradoxically been ramping up its robot installation. Currently, India is far behind in the race for industrial robots; but it may also find itself in the same paradox as China, if its thrust on manufacturing succeeds. The upshot is that since the march of robotics into manufacturing is inexorable, it is prudent for India to proactively factor this global trend into its development strategy, rather than trying to remain aloof from it.
Key words: China, robotics; people abundant economies; manufacturing; International Federation of Robotics; paradox; factory to the world; global supply chain; political economy