There are a lot of people in China who want to buy robots — the nation is currently the biggest market in the world for robotics, accounting for 56 percent of total sales in 2014.
But despite this demand, China is still behind other developed countries when it comes to being innovative with its bots. This desire to design and make high-end robots is at the forefront of this year’s World Robot Conference in Beijing, an event sponsored by the Chinese government.
The conference, which runs through Thursday, kicked off with a message from Vice President Li-Yuanchao that the country needs to focus its attention on intelligent manufacturing and increase the value of their robots.
President Xi Jinping also emphasized his desire for robots to drive the Chinese economy, and announced that China is willing to cooperate with other nations to promote robotics research.
More than 100 robotics experts and 12 international robotics organizations are represented at this year’s conference. The robots displayed are divided into three sections: industrial, service, and specialized.
Besides an exhibition and a series of forums on robotics innovation, the conference also includes a “World Adolescent Robot Contest,” which involves 130 competing teams from around the world.
On Monday, reports the South China Morning Post, Luo Jun, head of International Robotics and Intelligent Equipment Industry Alliance, announced that currently none of China’s estimated 500 posed a distinct competitive advantage in core technology. But at least they are definitely good at making smiling robots.