Korea Needs More Robots To Be Globally Competitive
For many years Korea had the honor of leading the world in industrial robot adoption (as share of industrial workers). But as Rob Atkinson notes in a column for The Korea Times, that lead is now in doubt, as other nations, especially China, but also Japan and the United States, saw much faster increases in robot adoption in 2021, according to the International Federation of Robotics.
Losing the race of robot adoption means relatively slower growth in Korea’s living standards and reduced international competitiveness, especially against China, a country where industrial wages are about one-third of Korea’s, but where robot growth was 25 times higher. At that rate, Korea will be competing against companies in China that are highly productive but have much lower wages, a deadly combination when it comes to the competitiveness of Korean firms.