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By Ding Yi / May 04, 2020 12:53 PM / Economy

Photo: IC

Photo: IC

Spending on robots, drones and related services in China is likely to exceed $121 billion in 2024, accounting for 44% of the global total, a new report predicts, as the past three months have provided a golden opportunity to show their usefulness in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Between 2020 and 2024, hardware purchases — including robotic systems, after-market robotic hardware and system hardware — will make up about two-thirds of China’s total robot-related spending, the report said. Buyers will mainly come from the manufacturing, healthcare and retail sectors. Software spending will mostly go toward purchases of command-and-control application systems, while service-related spending will be spread across various needs including systems integration.

“In the long term, the pandemic will be a catalyst for further development and deployment of robotic systems” IDC analyst Yao Yumo said in a statement. Yao predicted that emerging technologies such as 5G and artificial intelligence will play a key role in promoting the development of robotic and drone technologies.

During China’s battle against the coronavirus, robots have been used to deliver meals to patients, take body temperatures and disinfect wards in short-staffed hospitals, reducing the possibility of cross infections and saving on protective gear for medical workers.

Contact reporter Ding Yi (

Related: In Depth: Covid-19 Gives Robots a Chance to Shine

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