context: Projected robot sales for 2018 show growth is slowing, under pressure from the sluggish economy. Still, targets set in the robotics 5-year plan seem within reach, including for local brands to produce 100,000 robots—half of which are six-axis or higher machines—yearly.

Academy of Prospective Studies estimates 150,000 robots were sold domestically in 2018, up from 138,000 y-o-y. The market will have grown from US$5 bn to US$6.23 bn and is on track to reach US$9.35 bn by 2020.

There will be 153,000 job vacancies in the industry 2019, which will grow to 200,000 by 2020, says the report. The state needs to work with industry and educational institutions to address the talent shortage as relying on vocational schools is no longer enough. The government and higher education and research institutes have already set up engineer training centres in central and west China.