Why China’s Multi-Decade Manufacturing Miracle is Over

Thursday, August 18, 2016
By Paul Martin

by Wolf Richter
August 17, 2016

The German government said today that it won’t get in the way of the $5-billion acquisition by Chinese appliance maker Midea of Germany’s high-tech-industrial darling, Kuka Robotics Corporation. Midea, which promised up and down that Kuka would remain independent, has secured 95% of Kuka’s shares. Kuka executives have backed the deal. The German government’s efforts to find a more palatable – that is, European – acquirer have flopped. So this deal, the largest Chinese acquisition in Germany, is going to fly.

With €3 billion in revenues in 2015, Kuka is a significant player in “articulated robots” that can perform different tasks, such as arc welding or assembling. They’re used widely, from automakers to big bakeries. The deal gives the Chinese cutting-edge technologies and is another step forward in China’s efforts to modernize its manufacturing industry.

Chinese companies have been on a buying spree of robot makers, including so far this year:

In June, Agic Capital, the Chinese-European private equity firm, announced it would acquire Gimatic, an Italian supplier of robotic end-of-arm tools such as pneumatic and electric grippers.
In January, China National Chemical Corp, the Chinese state fund Guoxin International Investment Corp, and Agic Capital purchased KraussMaffei, another German player in industrial robots (among other things), for $1 billion.
In the US this year, China robotics manufacturer Zhejiang Wanfeng Technology Development Co. acquired Michigan-based Paslin Co, an assembly-line robotics manufacturer.

The Rest…HERE

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