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Intelligent manufacturing the key for China’s upgrade

By Jesus David Cano Romano
October 9, 2015
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China is passing through a series of reforms transforming its economy and its manufacturing sector, If China is serious about economic transformation, nothing is more important than morphing new technology with old industries.

Made in China 2025” — China’s version of “Industry 4.0” — is an ambitious 10-year plan for manufacturers that will  transform the industry, transforming not only the meaning of Made in China but also about the meaning of quality in the manufacturing industry.

Wang Haizhong, head of China Brand Strategy Research Center believes the “Made in China” label is associated with cheap goods with low technological content. Many domestic enterprises, he claims, make little money because they don’t have independent brands, independent design or independent core technology. He expects that upgrading low value-added domestic products will become even more important as the manufacturing sector weakens. September’s manufacturing activity data plunged to a 78-month low.

If China wants to move up the global industry chain, it has to change. A manufacturing base that merely processes goods will no longer suffice. This means developing emerging industries with their own, independent technological edges, said Li Beiguang of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).

To move from “made” to “created” to “intelligently manufactured” will require competitive equipment, industrial robots, digitally controlled machine tools and 3D printing, according to Industry and Information Technology Minister Miao Wei.

The MIIT plans to prioritize industries including aerospace, oceanic engineering and shipping, advanced rail equipment, new energy vehicles and medicine. Cloud computing, big data and the Internet of Things all have their parts to play.

Intelligent manufacturing, according to Li Beiguang, will require new core technology, improved use of human resources and better funding. It is down to the government to create the right environment for innovation, provide more financial and fiscal support, train more talent and strengthen information security, he said.