Demand for industrial controls in China is projected to rise 13.6 percent annually through 2015 to 259 billion yuan, according to a report by the Freedonia Group. Gains will be supported by increases in durable goods output, as well as by expanding investment in key industries such as chemicals, utilities and construction. Demand growth will also be aided by continuing product development and technological advances in solid-state controls that will enable end-users to improve their productivity. However, gains are expected to be restrained by competition from personal computers programmed to perform control-related functions.

Demand for advanced control products is expected to continue to rise faster than demand for conventional controls, as advanced types provide superior performance and production capabilities, according to Freedonia. As these products become more technologically intricate, Freedonia predicts demand for systems integration services and industrial control software will grow rapidly. Adjustable-speed drive controls will remain the largest advanced industrial control product segment, primarily bolstered by the superior energy conservation performance they provide. Demand for special-purpose controls is expected to continue to outpace that for general-purpose products through 2015, benefiting from the application-specific nature of these devices that allows them to sell at higher prices than general-purpose controls.

Durable goods industries accounted for the largest share of demand in 2010, making up 78 percent of the total. Industrial controls are especially utilized by electrical and electronic equipment and machinery manufacturers, according to Freedonia. Original equipment manufacturer (OEM) applications are expected to provide better prospects for growth than maintenance/repair/operations (MRO) applications, benefiting from solid advances in durable goods manufacturing output in China. Electrical and electronic equipment is expected to be the fastest growing market for industrial controls through 2015, supported by strong increases in manufacturing output, as well as rising use of control devices in electrical and electronic equipment.