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HOME > Economy

Foreign capitals snatch shares in China's smart manufacturing industry

August 10, 2018

Abstract : The opening up of China's intelligent manufacturing industry keeps deenpening with foreign capital making vigorous moves to snatch more market shares.


BEIJING, Aug. 10 (Xinhua) -- The opening up of China's intelligent manufacturing industry keeps deenpening with foreign capital making vigorous moves to snatch more market shares. Cooperation between Chinese and foreign capitals has been extended to more innovative fronts such as automatic driving and new energy vehicles, industrial Internet and robotics. 

-- Complementary advantages in automotive industry

China, as the world's largest automobile market, has attracted global attention. The rapid development of new energy vehicles and automatic driving technology has started a new round of competition in the traditional auto industry.

The new negative list China released recently has eliminated the restrictions on the proportion of foreign equity in Chinese manufacturers of special-purpose vehicles and new energy vehicles, with the same move expected for commercial vehicles by 2020 and for passenger vehicles by 2022. The restriction that one foreign carmaker can establish only two joint ventures will also be lifted by 2022. Therefore, the automobile sector sees a clearer roadmap and a greater predictability for openness.

On July 10, it is confirmed that Tesla will build a new factory in Shanghai. It will be Tesla's first super factory outside the U.S. with an annual production capacity of 500,000 pure electric vehicles.

According to the agreement, Tesla will build a super factory with sole proprietorship, integrating R&D, manufacturing and sales. The factory includes an electric vehicle R&D innovation center, a super factory and a sales outlet.

Apart from Tesla, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Volkswagen, Toyota, GM and other international giants are promoting their business in China. Honda has signed a long-term cooperation agreement with SenseTime, a Chinese artificial intelligence firm, in late 2017 to jointly develop automatic driving technology.

Industry insiders widely believe new energy vehicles and automatic driving technology represent the trend of the automobile industry. Chinese carmakers and their foreign counterparts will continue to advance their cooperation and pioneer the industry innovation by complementary advantages and win-win cooperation.

-- Strong alliances in Industrial IoT

Inflow of foreign capital into China's IoT market is also accelerating. Some of the world-famous century-old manufacturers have started to work together with promising Chinese start-ups that have emerged in the information era, so as to realize their vision for the manufacturing industry.

An exemplar is found in the cooperation between Siemens and Alibaba Cloud. In early July, Siemens and Alibaba Cloud signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in Berlin.

As a part of their cooperation, Siemens will launch MindSphere, its IoT operating system, by leveraging the infrastructure of Alibaba Cloud. According to the MoU, Siemens will build MindSphere on Alibaba Cloud's server and launch it in 2019.

By cooperating with Alibaba Cloud, Siemens will further explore China's digital service market and build an industrial IoT ecosystem.

According to analysts, MindSphere will become a platform with unique advantages by leveraging the powerful infrastructures of Alibaba Cloud, and thus promote the digital upgrade of China's manufacturing.

-- Booming robot market

With labor costs rising and industrial transformation advancing, it is an inevitable trend to replace manual labor with robots for repetitive work. According to the forecast by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), the sales of industrial robot in China will see a growth rate of 20 percent to 25 percent by 2020, accounting for 40 percent of the world’s total, and making China the largest market in this regard.

Lured by China's huge market, foreign robot giants such as ABB of Sweden, FANUC and Yaskawa of Japan, and KUKA of Germany have started making their strategic layout. Among them, ABB and Yaskawa have established production bases in China.

Yaskawa has established an industrial robot factory in Changzhou city, east China's Jiangsu province. The factory not only produces robots for assembling, handling, welding and painting automobiles, but also performs the development, design and production of accessories and parts.

In 2015, Nabtesco of Japan and Shanghai Electric set up a joint venture in Wujin High-tech Zone; ABB established a wholly-owned subsidiary in Zhuhai city, south China's Guangdong province and launched the integrated robot application business; In cooperation with Midea, Yaskawa has entered the Chinese home appliance manufacturing market.

By teaming up with local Chinese companies and devoting greater efforts in research and development, these foreign giants have upgraded product forms and optimized product performance, which have also propelled the development of China's robot industry.

Liu Xingguo, director of the enterprise research division at China Enterprise Confederation, shared his opinion on the vigorous introduction of foreign funds into smart manufacturing industry. "Further opening up will effectively promote the development of domestic smart manufacturing as well as the transformation and upgrading of the manufacturing industry, and also accelerate penetration of intelligent technology."

"China's smart manufacturing enterprises must see the contribution of foreign investment to the overall development of the industry, and also the competition and pressure brought about by the inflow of foreign capitals. We must turn pressure into motivation and vigorously pursue technological innovation," said Liu.

(Edited by Yang Qi, kateqiyang@xinhua.org)

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