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Robot king Fanuc risks missing out on 5G boom

After forecasting 60% profit drop, company faces new challenges as clients ditch metal casing

The industrial robot maker generates about a fifth of its sales in China. (Photo courtesy of Fanuc)

TOKYO -- Japanese robot maker Fanuc expects group net profit to plunge 60% in the fiscal year ending March 2020 amid a decline in smartphone-related orders, a trend that looks unlikely to improve even with the transition to 5G.

The company had flourished in recent years thanks to the smartphone boom. Its Robodrill machine tools are widely used to make metal casings for handsets including the iPhone. But demand has fallen off lately, which means fewer equipment orders from Chinese factories.

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