There is an advantage in being a first mover, Europe had the first mover advantage with the industrial revolution and eventually became a dominant power in manufacturing and innovation, USA on the other hand advanced in science and military warfare and now holds court when it comes to technology. Today, both these continents are plagued with fervent domestic matters, from Covid-19 pandemic to political nuisances distracting them from focusing on the future.
In 2017 the race to become a global leader in technology was a three way competition, Europe, US and China were all in the fray then the Trump administration decided to thwart the advancement made by China, blocking the paths with sanctions and IP suits. While it was a setback, the Middle Kingdom has overcome those hurdles by looking inward for solutions, this paid off handsomely and being able to keep the pandemic under control attention was once again placed on technology.
The nation has just released its ambitious 5G plans, as one of the few countries already rolled out its new high speed network China aims to elevate its status as a world leader in precision manufacturing by building 30 “fully connected” 5G factories in 10 key industries by 2023. This comes shortly after the government’s 5 year plan blueprint where more emphasis will be given to digitalisation, focusing on the industrial sector the 5G factory program is a fast-tracked industrial Internet development inititative by the country.
Unveiled by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), three to five industrial Internet platforms will come into being together with a big data center for industrial Internet which will be established in two years time. The action plan points out that the next couple of years will be a period of rapid growth of China’s industrial Internet. The intention is to grow the already thriving eco-system and get more emerging businesses like intelligent manufacturing, network-based collaboration and personalised customisation to become the new language in manufacturing.
China is also working tirelessly in other internet related industry, the Internet of Things for industry referring to the broader adoption of advanced technologies such as next-generation wireless networks, big data and artificial intelligence is being actively adopted in the sectors. Apart from developing these technology, the use case scenario for its own industry will allow it to learn much faster and adapt to changes if required. By the time the rest of the world starts adopting, China would have learnt the nuances and perhaps lead the world IR4.0
According to MIIT data, China has already nurtured over 70 industrial Internet platforms, connecting about 60 million sets of industrial equipment and more than 400,000 industrial enterprises. A far cry for the likes of South Korea or Japan which kicked of 5G early but is falling behind in adoption.
Technology initiatives can never be left to bureaucracy, neither can it be put on hold, as it moves very fast those who embark and embrace will reap the benefits while those who drag their feet will be inevitably left behind.