China's robot industry has become a victim of the trade war with the US. At this showcase in Beijing, it was putting on a happy face, but many of these machines now face dim prospects. Take the iPal, it was designed to be the affordable helper of the future for retail stores, schools, and even homes, and sold in America.
Then came the trade war, putting the iPal's creators in a bind.>> It may end up that we have to charge more for the robots in the US, which we hope we don't have to do.>> Not all of China's robots are on US tariff lists. But already the entire industry from gadgets to industrial robots is powering down.
In May, production was surging ahead, a 35% growth. Now it's in sleep mode at just six percent. Reuters Kate Kadel spoke to robotics insiders to find out why.>> Companies overseas, they're buying less robots from China because these trade discussions could potentially effect the prices. What we're kinda hearing from people here on the ground is that they're very worried that they're possibly deferring their decisions.
We're also hearing things that like that they may perhaps send their robots through other distribution points to get into the US should the tariffs go through.>> That's bad news for China. Robotics is one of ten key industries to get state support, as part of Beijing's Made In China 2025 plan to turn the country into a tech superpower.
Beijing says the production drop has nothing to do with the trade war, but that's not exactly a consensus view.>> Analysts disagree, producers disagree, it's very clear that the trade war, even before tariffs have been put in place, it's having a very clear effect on robot producers here.
>> And there's no quick recovery on the horizon. China got hit this week with a new round of tariffs, and another round looms in September aimed at a whopping $200 billion worth of goods. Experts say robot makers should brace for more pain, as tariffs hit demand for China's consumer exports and the automated workers who make it all.