China’s robot industry maintained steady expansion in the first half of the year, an official with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has said. China’s output of industrial robots reached 222,000 sets, an increase of 5.4 percent year on year, while the production of service robots amounted to 3.53 million sets, up 9.6 percent from a year ago, said Wang Hong, an official with the ministry. “China’s robot industry has achieved steady and healthy development and has become the backbone of the global robot industry,” Wang said. In China, industrial robots are now widely used in emerging industries, including new energy vehicles, photovoltaics, and lithium batteries. Service robots have been applied in medical and health, construction, old-age care, and other industries on a large scale. Special robots are playing an increasingly important role in scientific investigation and emergency rescue. In the future, China will further enhance its industrial innovation capability, and promote the high-quality development of the robot industry,” Wang said. North China’s Hebei Province’s foreign trade totaled 272.35 billion yuan (about 38.09 billion U.S. dollars) in the first half of 2023, up 4.9 percent year on year, according to local customs authorities. Over the period, Hebei’s exports rose 7.8 percent year on year to total 166.2 billion yuan, and its imports grew 0.7 percent to 106.15 billion yuan, data from Shijiazhuang customs shows. The province’s trade with its major trading partners — Australia, the United States and the European Union — came in at 37.7 billion yuan, 30.62 billion yuan and 29.55 billion yuan, respectively. From January to June, the province’s trade with countries along the Belt and Road rose 9.1 percent year on year to 97.26 billion yuan. Its exports of mechanical, electrical, labor-intensive and agricultural products maintained growth. The province also increased its imports of iron ore, coal and natural gas.