China’s service robot market size jumps 44% to $1.8 billion

China’s service robots market hit $1.84 billion according to an article published today on the 21st Century Business Herald. This marks a nearly 44% year-on-year increase, which is higher than the global average rate of change.

Traditional sectors are turning to automation to increase efficiency and slash labor costs, key among them the medical and education industries. The food service and catering industry is lagging behind but shows great promise in the future, according to an August 2018 report by the Chinese Institute of Electronics. Companies involved in the automation of dining are mostly in Series A and B funding rounds.

Unmanned and automated restaurants are starting to emerge in China. Chinese online retailer JD opened its first “JD X future” restaurant in Tianjin last November and plans to open 1,000 more by 2020. The restaurant is fully staffed by robots which take orders, serve food and prepare the meals, managed by a central AI system. Last July, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba opened its own automated restaurant, called “Robot.he,” inside its Hema supermarket. It plans to expand overseas. Popular hot-pot restaurant chain Haidilao equipped a Beijing branch with robotic arms in their cold rooms, as well as transportation robots.

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