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Report from ProMat 2023 – The Chinese are coming
20 Mar . 2023

About this time each year, my colleague Roberto Michel begins to put together Modern’s annual list of the Top 20 System Suppliers world wide. It’s purely a numbers game: The companies on the list are ranked by their annual sales and not whether or not we think they’re a great organization.


For the past three or four years, we’ve been contacted by a new and unfamiliar category of solution providers who claim that their annual sales numbers qualify them for inclusion on the list: Chinese automation providers and system integrators. More to the point, Chinese suppliers who claim hundreds of millions of dollars in annual revenue, enough to put them on the list. When we dig a little deeper, they aren’t operating yet in North America or even Europe, although they are eyeing both markets. Instead, they’re operating in China and other parts of Asia, the Middle East and Africa. It’s intriguing to think that there is a materials handling world out there operating almost as a second universe into which we have little visibility.


With that in mind, I was anxious to spend the last day of ProMat with Joseph Wang of the BeJaguar Group, an international exhibition company,  and meet with 3 of the 18 Chinese companies he brought to Chicago. The goal was to learn a little about what each is bringing to the U.S. market.



My last stop was at Galaxis. It was the simplest booth, demonstrating one product – an AMR for pallet transport. But it had the most extensive product portfolio, with everything from AS/RS systems to shuttles to robots and sortation systems. Established in China in 2014, the company, according to Steven Bian, Assistant Director of Institute for Artificial Intelligence, has put systems in 1,000 DCs for 300 customers in China, supported by 1,000 employees. Galaxis began its global expansion in 2019 and now has systems in operation in Russia, Singapore, Dubai and Hamburg. It just completed its first U.S. system in San Francisco. Among its customer base are facilities for the distribution of medical supplies, 3rd party logistics providers, a battery factory and storage systems for libraries.

While Galaxis is a system integrator in China, working directly with customers, Bian says the strategy for the U.S. is to establish relationships with system integrators. “While we are new to this market, we believe we have very creative solutions and can be very price competitive,” he says.


My takeaway from a few hours spent interviewing these new entrants to the market is that more than anything, there’s a world of materials handling going on outside of North America and Western Europe that we rarely see or hear about. If the three vendors I met with are representative of what’s going on in the Chinese market, they have extensive product portfolios and experience in their traditional markets. Finding U.S. partners to integrate and service their solutions, while also over-coming the traditional barriers to entry that new players face will be their challenge. That along with getting those first reference installations up and running.  

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