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Japan Inc prepares for automation bonanza in China

Factory robot makers Yaskawa Electric and Daifuku plan new factories as demand soars

Japanese companies like Yaskawa Electric and Daifuku see big automation opportunities coming in China. (Source photos by Ken Kobayashi and Masayuki Kozono)

TOKYO -- China is leaning harder than ever on automation as a way to keep production lines going while also preventing the spread of the coronavirus, and the resulting demand for robots and related equipment is luring investments from Japanese equipment makers.

The trend in China, where orders placed with Japanese machine tool makers increased 23.5% in value in 2020 from the previous year, comes in contrast to that in other industrialized countries, where orders for Japanese automation equipment are falling fast.

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