A robot dances with a visitor at the 2021 World Robot Conference in Beijing on Friday. [Photo by ZOU HONG/CHINA DAILY] The latest global cutting-edge technological achievements and business models are in the spotlight at the 2021 World Robot Conference, which opened in Beijing on Friday.

During the event's opening ceremony, the three Chinese astronauts onboard the Tiangong space station greeted participants with a video message, in which they pointed out the profound impact of robotics on humanity in many ways, such as industrial production and many aspects of daily life.

The astronauts said the 10.2-meter-long robotic arm attached to the core module of the Chinese space station has helped them perform their spacewalks. The arm is the most advanced and complex mechanical appendage China has ever developed, and it can carry up to 25 metric tons of weight, according to the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation.

This year's conference, the sixth since 2015, runs until Monday, and involves more than 300 scientists from China and abroad, as well as representatives from international organizations and companies.

In a congratulatory letter to the first conference in 2015, President Xi Jinping said inventions in the field of automation have contributed to society since ancient times.

Now, robotics has become a burgeoning sector represented by the smart manufacturing industry, and serves as a key testimony to modern science, technology and innovation, he said.

China has made robotics and smart manufacturing the nation's research priority, and it is willing to collaborate with international peers to make better robots to serve the people and the nation's development, Xi added.

This year's exhibition area will feature three major sections on industrial robots, service robots and specialized robots. More than 500 products from around 110 companies are on display, ranging from cleaning drones to anti-explosives inspection robots.

Another key exhibition area will focus on the latest technological achievements in robotic parts, as well as how the use of robots is revolutionizing fields such as medicine, life sciences and agriculture.

The 2021 World Robot Contest Championship will also be held during this year's conference. Teams of engineers will compete to design the robotic appendages and medical rehabilitation robots, as well as create new programs to ensure improved human-machine interaction.

This tournament is one of the biggest of its kind in China. Since its launch in 2015, more than 150,000 participants from more than 20 countries have taken part.