HTI Cybernetics, a Michigan maker of robotic welding systems, has been acquired by a Chinese investment group.
HTI, based in Sterling Heights, Mich., was bought by Chongqing Nanshang Investment for $50 million, according to a Global Times report.
HTI Cybernetics, which was founded in 1983, develops robotic welding systems for auto makers such as General Motors (NYSE:GM).
China is the largest buyer of industrial robots and its companies have been rapidly acquiring developers of robotic technology. Last year, 50 robotics companies were sold for more than $19 billion and nearly half of the deals involved Chinese investors. Midea’s high-profile purchase of German robot maker Kuka AG was the most notable acquisition.
Government initiatives such as the “Made in China 2025 program” is fueling rapid industry growth. The program’s five-year plan aims to automate sectors like car manufacturing, electronics, home appliances, logistics and food production — installing between 600,000 and 650,000 industrial robots — as well as increase the share of in-country produced robots by more than 50% by 2020, according to a Robot Report posting.
In September, ABB Ltd. disclosed plans to double its robot production capacity in China to compete with competitors Kuka AG and Fanuc in the region. Also, Germany-based Siemens AG plans to open a new research center in Beijing to study and develop mechatronics systems, human-robot interactions and collaboration and the use of artificial intelligence in robotic controllers.