Beijing, April 27 (IANS) China plans to triple its annual production of robots used in the manufacturing sector to 100,000 in five years, a media report said on Wednesday.

China is also aiming to sell more than 30 billion yuan ($4.6 billion) worth of service robots by 2020 amid surging demand in the healthcare, education and entertainment sectors, according to the ministry of industry and information technology.

The initiative also details the growth of the robotics industry for the national 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20) with a view to increasing the quality of equipment, ministry official Xin Guobin, said.

China produced fewer than 33,000 manufacturing robots in the past year, the ministry said.

"The strategy will help the Chinese robotics industry to achieve healthy growth amid challenges from overseas providers," Xin said.

China became the world's largest market for industrial robots in 2013, surpassing Japan, according to the International Federation of Robotics.

Increasing labour costs and labour shortages are pushing some manufacturers to adopt robots in product lines.

The ministry will also encourage Chinese robot manufacturers to gain a bigger presence in the high-end market, an area currently controlled by overseas giants such as Fanuc Corp from Japan and the multinational ABB Group based in Switzerland.