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An Analysis of the Industrial Robot Sector’s Competitiveness in Each Stage of the Value Chain, and Implications for Policy

Author Park, Sangsoo Date 2021.07.22 Issue No
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Korea’s industrial robot sector is now the world’s fifth-largest, aided by systematic and consistent government policy over the past decade. It is still heavily reliant on imports for key parts however, and the industry is fragmented, consisting of many small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the absence of specialized companies with global competitiveness. The sector’s competitiveness lags behind in key areas, such as in the development of core-enabling technologies, but also in terms of supply chain stability and production technology. Thus, a comprehensive diagnosis of the industry is needed to determine the kind of policy measures necessary to secure innovative growth capacity in the sector. 


For this paper, we analyzed the structure and characteristics of the industry’s value chain, identifying its strengths and weaknesses in each stage of the chain. Based on the implications carried by the results of this analysis we proposed a comprehensive set of future-oriented policy considerations. These are as follows.


First, building up a full range of R&D capacity would sharpen the sector’s competitive advantage, as would the development of core-enabling technologies through medium and long-term policy support. And more proof-of-concept (POC) pilot projects in the public and private sectors would help to improve product reliability.  Second, the sector’s fragmented market structure must evolve and build supply capacity. This can be done by fostering companies capable of competing on a global scale. Finally, we need market expansion strategies to accurately determine global demand for industrial robots and assess the characteristics of regional markets, as well as aggressive regulatory reform to allow Korea to emerge as a leader in creating market opportunities.?