The global robotic process automation (RPA) market has grown by leaps and bounds in recent yearsIn China, the market is still nascent but has drawn a lot of attention since 2019, as existing and new vendors have started offering more AI capabilities. Big technology vendors, as well as startups, are increasing their investments in R&D as well as sales and delivery teams enablement. 

In our recent research, we interviewed 13 leading vendors and 20 end-user clients and discovered that: 

  • Customers experiment their way to RPA success. Clients are experimenting with RPA tools, new features provided by vendors, and the best ways to cooperate with service providers and service teams from software vendors. The wide range of vendors gives clients more options. Some are cooperating with more than two vendors, accelerating their pilot stages.
  • RPA success requires robust operating model. In China, most clients quickly started their RPA programs in silos, each business unit running different pilots and proofs of concept. Each team established basic operating models during the actual implementations, resulting in many automation islands across the firm. To effectively manage RPA programs, enterprises need to take a step back and create enterprisewide governance structures. 
  • AI is driving RPA to intelligent automation. Interestingly, RPA emerged in China after the AI craze driven by digital giants and other highly visible startups. Many clients can leverage AI capabilities from day one. RPA and practical AI components create the intelligent automation that has been adopted by over half of surveyed clients. 

In spite of many challenging experiences, Forrester expects that Chinese organizations will increasingly consider RPA to support a rising number of automation initiativesBut in facing this new but buoyant market, CIOs in China need a plan. The Forrester report The Chinese RPA Market Is Coming of Age can get you started. And if you’d like to discuss your company’s RPA strategy, feel free to reach out to me directly, or set up an inquiry by emailing