Though not quite the 28% growth experienced in 2010, China's production of industrial machinery grew almost 18% in 2011, reaching more than $335 billion. The average growth rate from 2012 to 2016 is expected to continue at a respectable 13%, climbing to more than $627 billion in 2016, according to a recent study from IMS Research (recently acquired by IHS).
"Because of economic turmoil in Europe and weakening demand and tighter monetary policies at home, the growth of Chinese machine production is slowing down and entering a period of steady growth," said Jay Tang, IMS Research analyst.
The growth in China's machinery production outpaces the country's GDP, which grew by just over 9% in 2011, and is expected grow by a little more than 8% this year, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The Chinese government is not expected to introduce massive stimulus policies in 2012, and inflation has reduced personal disposable incomes, stifling growth in domestic consumption. Nonetheless, IMS Research forecasts that Chinese machinery production will reach $380 billion this year.
"Of the machinery sectors analyzed, production of materials-handling machinery had the largest revenues in 2011 — $70 billion, or 20% of the total," Tang said. "The next largest sectors in China were production of agricultural machinery, machine tools, wind turbines, and textile machinery."
The total value of automation product production in 2010 was estimated as $16.5 billion, IMS Research reported. Across all machinery sectors, the machine-tool sector was the largest for automation products, worth more than $3 billion.