Southeast Asia Industrial and Service Robot Market - Growth, Trends, and Forecasts(2020 - 2025)
The Southeast Asian industry and service robot market is expected to witness a CAGR of 10.7% during the forecast period (20202025). The adoption of robots (industrial as well as service robots) is increasing in Southeast Asian countries. According to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) estimate, the sales of robots in the region is expected to grow between 20% and 25% by 2021.
The aging societies of Southeast Asia, such as Thailand and Singapore, are driving growth in the medical technology sector, thus, creating a massive market for service robots in the region. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (Singapore), in 2018, around 35.2 million inhabitants were aged 65 years or older. This number was projected to grow to 36.2 million in 2020. This is encouraging companies to invest in products for the elderly in the region.
In addition, prominent vendors are looking to invest in the region to develop rehabilitation robots. For example, recently, Ekso Bionics entered into a joint venture with Zhejiang Youchuang Venture Capital Investment Co. Ltd worth USD 100 million. This JV will be developing, selling, and supporting exoskeleton products in China, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Malaysia.
Amid the COVID19 pandemic, the southeast Asian countries are getting more push toward digital transformation across the industries. This is also driving the adoption of robots in the region. Vietnam, for instance, has experienced a depletion in GDP of 3.8% in Q1 2020 and yet the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has forecast Vietnam to be one of the fastestgrowing economies in Southeast Asia. The country has employed robots and drones to transport medical aid, infectious samples, food and essential deliveries, sterilization, and surveillance of the public and public areas.
Key Market Trends
Increasing Aging Population to Drive the Growth of the Market
Geriatric patients access physiotherapy services for health conditions, such as recovery after an injury, a stroke, or a surgical procedure, such as a knee or hip or replacement. Physiotherapy helps older adults maintain or improve their strength, mobility, and range of motion and reduce their risk of injuries and falls.
According to an independent survey, sponsored by Wellchem Pharmaceutical to mark World Arthritis Day, found that about 40% of elderly Singaporeans have experienced pain in their knees for five years or more. Considering the fact that by 2025, 22% of the world population may be older than 60, according to the World Bank, the demand is only going to increase, thus, making service robots a lucrative market to invest.
Moreover, vendors in the region are involved in product innovation to get certified by medical councils and launch their product in the market. For instance, in Oct 2019, Cyberdyne, Inc. obtained a medical device approval to sell and manufacture HAL for medical use for lower limb type, a wearable cyborg primarily designed to improve the physical function of the wearer, from the Malaysian Medical Device Authority.
However, the higher costs of service robots are associated with powerful and robust hardware and efficient software. Apart from high prices, these products also require a higher level of maintenance than a manually operated machine, and they generally have a lower degree of flexibility regarding possible products (even flexible automation is less flexible than humans, the most versatile tools of all). These limitations might hinder the growth of the market in the region.
Demand for Service Robots to Grow Significantly
Technological innovations, concerning cognition, interaction, and manipulation, have made service robotics more appealing. Technology and other component providers have been instrumental in moving the robotics ecosystem forward.
As the region is facing an aging population, government organizations in the area are planning to rely more on robots as compared to human resources. For instance, the Housing Development Board (Singapore) is planning to adopt an autonomous drone or robot to identify which parts of public housing blocks need cleaning. The primary aim is to reduce the amount of water required to clean by focusing only on the dirty areas.
Also, the Southeast Asian countries are keen on showing interest in adopting and developing exoskeleton rehabilitation robotics for physiotherapies provided to patients. For instance, National University Health System (NUHS) Singapore has raised over USD 1.34 million from Temasek Foundation to buy exoskeletons and train twelve physiotherapists for two years. Such initiatives in the region are expected to boost the demand further and develop the scope of rehabilitation service robots.
According to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), Singapore has the highest density of robots in the world, with more than 830 per 10,000 employees, whereas the global average stood at 99 in 2019.
The Service Robotics market is consolidated, and significant players include Daifuku Co. Ltd, ABB Ltd, Eureka Robotics, etc.
In November 2019, B&R, a unit of ABB’s Robotics and Discrete Automation business, announced the integration of ABB robots into its automation portfolio. With the ability to offer unprecedented levels of machine flexibility and precision, merging robotics with machine control into one unified architecture will enable manufacturers to embrace the trend of mass customization and optimize their lot size one processes.
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