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China is one of the largest R&D locations worldwide for Siemens (Photo: Siemens)

Siemens will concentrate its global research into autonomous robotics in China, acknowledging the country’s growing expertise in high-tech manufacturing areas.

As part of its decision, the German engineering group also entered into a partnership with Tsinghua University to jointly establish a robotics research center in Beijing.

Siemens cited as key development areas new mechatronics systems, human-robot collaboration and artificial intelligence in robotic controllers.

“China intends to upgrade its national industry and boost its global competence through digitalization-focused innovations,” Siemens CTO Roland Busch said in a statement.

Core R&D areas in China include data analytics, cyber security, industrial IoT and digital twin, and connected city solutions, Siemens said

“Siemens is investing heavily in the future of China and partnering with the country and many customers on its way to digitalization,” Busch said.

Autonomous robotics and other new manufacturing technologies are key to developing the efficiency boosts expected from Industry 4.0, the networked production environment that is being planned in many companies.

Even before the latest move, China was already one of Siemens’ largest R&D locations worldwide. In the year ending September 30, 2016, the company employed more than 4,500 4,500 R&D researchers in the country at 20 tech centers.