Source: Yicai Global

July 28 -- World-leading robot maker Yaskawa Electric Corp.  is pushing to expand its presence in its biggest overseas market, China, Nishikawa Seigo, managing director of Yaskawa Electric China Co., told Yicai Global.

Yaskawa’s sales in the country leapt to JPY26.9 billion (USD242 billion) in the first quarter, up 32.1 percent on the year, the firm’s financial reports show. Both its robot sales and production capacity make up a quarter of their respective global totals.

The company boasts leading servo and motion control technology, giving the company a unique edge in robot development, Seigo said.

Yaskawa’s robots main feature is their stability and load-carrying capacity, insiders said, the company therefore has great development potential in areas where heavy-load robots are needed, such as the auto industry.

“A focus on motor and control technology is critical to our strong position in the industrial robotics market,” Seigo added. “The key to our success lies in our ability to adapt to the market and roll out robotics products that clients and the market need.”

He believes that the success of a robotics company does not necessarily depend on state-of-the-art technology, but the firm’s ability to adapt to market changes as it develops new technology.

Exporting its products to China is just the first step of Yaskawa’s strategy, Seigo continued. To him, localized operation means full integration into the Chinese economy and making products in the country. To fulfill that aim, the company set up Yaskawa China Robotics Co. in 2013 in Changzhou, in the eastern province of Jiangsu. It was the firm’s first robotics plant outside Japan and the company’s only factory in China, though it now has established robotics research and development centers in Chengdu, Guangzhou and Shanghai.

Due to strong demand in the country, the firm plans to expand its Changzhou plant and increase its monthly output to over 1,200 units by 2019.

Yaskawa also has joint ventures in China. The first was formed with Shougang Group as early as 1995 and it set up two robotics joint ventures with appliance maker Midea Group Co. [SHE:000333] in 2015. Midea owns a 60.1 percent stake in their service venture while Yaskawa holds 51 percent in the pair’s industrial robotics company.

“We hoped to find a smart manufacturer in China’s home appliance and 3C (computers, communication and consumer) sectors to partner up with and Midea shares this idea,” Seigo told Yicai Global. “So we agreed to work together in a mutually beneficial cooperation.”