Chongqing- The elegantly landscaped compound of Jinshan Science and Technology is adorned with verdant trees and water features against the imposing backdrop of Tongluo Ridge. Overhead, approaching aircraft intermittently resound through a chorus of bird song. As one steps inside this world-renowned hi-tech enterprise, this new era of harmony between smart industry and ecology becomes a visibly palpable experience.
In just a few years, Chongqing has concentrated the advantages of supportive government policy, excellent logistics, convenient transportation, access to international expertise, with industry pilot and demonstration zones where the latest innovations are quickly turned to practical application.
Mr. Liu Yaoxian works for the international department of Jinshan Science and Technology, a Chinese manufacturer of hi-tech medical equipment that exports to countries worldwide, described their flagship product, the advantages of basing enterprise in Chongqing.
‘The capsule endoscopy is the first product of Jinshan, and one of the most important for us. It is a tiny camera shaped like a pill. It can be swallowed by a patient and will travel through the gastrointestinal tract. It is possible to capture all the images about eight hours later when they can be downloaded onto a computer so that doctors can analyze them for diseases.’
In the Liangjiang New Zone where Jinshan Science and Technology is based, there is highly convenient access to Jiangbei International Airport, the Cuntan Bonded River Port on the Yangtze waterway, and the eastern terminal of the Yuxinou Trans-Eurasian Freight Railway, which also connects to the deep seaport of Qinzhou on the South China Sea, making Chongqing a vital hub for trans-shipment between Europe and Southeast Asia using both land and sea trade routes.
Mr. Liu Yaoxian explained the geographical and logistical advantages of Chongqing. ‘Because most of our customers come from abroad, our proximity to the airport means that journeys times need only take ten minutes from pick-up to our company or their hotel accommodation.’
‘Secondly, the logistical advantages make this location ideal for us. Our products made for export are dispatched using air freight, and so being so close to the airport greatly reduces transportation times for us.’
Chongqing has attracted and cultivated leading smart enterprise not only because of geographical advantages and advanced infrastructure but also through vital support in terms of financial policy and access to expertise at an international level.
Zisun Technology is a manufacturer of clean air products located within the Airport Zone of Liangjiang New Area. Grace Li, a representative of the company’s marketing department, explained. ‘We’ve received great supports from the local government in terms of finance and tax policies. They sometimes even invite experts from abroad to come and support us in developing the business. These are very important.’
The Driving factors behind smart transformation and upgrades
Smart technology is driving a new industrial revolution in manufacturing. In China, there is a diverse technological base that varies from simple machinery to cutting edge digital automation. As a result, the pathways to smart transformation and upgrades differ to varying extends.
Traditional industries are aiming to transform into industry frontrunners, as new technology presents an opportunity to leapfrog competitors, or else fall victim from a failure to keep pace with trends in manufacturing.
The Chongqing government has taken the lead in the strategy to promote smart manufacturing through the implementation of pilot schemes and demonstration areas. In contrast, the enterprise has invested in digital transformation and improved its capabilities in the smart industry.
As a result, smart manufacturing in Chongqing has achieved remarkable growth thanks to an enhanced digital capacity that allows for quality market analysis to predict future consumer trends. Further contributing factors include higher levels of profitability due to increased efficiency and reduced labor costs. In contrast, a high rate of automation has been achieved through investment in smart industrial robots, which can increase output and quality in response to growing consumer demand.
The major issue with traditional manufacturing is that the industry has reached a bottleneck in terms of profitability.
Even though the manufacturing sector is relatively large in China, the traditional industry has generally suffered from high energy consumption and low added value downstream.
Therefore, as energy prices have increased along with labor costs and land-related expenses, profit margins have been continuously on the decline.
While profit margins remain sizeable in upstream research and development and in-service provision downstream, profits at the manufacturing stage are meager. This has required factories to increase product yields through intelligence upgrades to their production lines and technology based on the Internet of Things. The integration of these two factors in production and service can serve to increase overall profit margins.
As far as the global industrial chain is concerned, the majority of factories in China are currently operating with low-profit margins. Therefore, intelligent upgrades offer the only path forward.
From an overall perspective during this new wave of the historic industrial revolution, the significance of smart manufacturing to the national economy is self-evident. So intelligent transformation and upgrades to traditional manufacturing are of vital importance.
Government strategy provides direction in smart industry
On August 23rd, 2018, deputy director of the Chongqing Municipal Commission of Economy and Information Technology, Mr. Li Bin, issued the Intelligent Development Strategy for Big Data at a press conference during the first China International Smart Industry Expo.
The principal aims are to achieve significant breakthroughs in core technologies such as big data intelligence, autonomous systems, cross-media, and swarm intelligence.
Important landmark results are in key components, high-end equipment, and basic software. Cloud computing big data, smart terminals, smart perception, and other fields have reached an advanced level of sophistication nationally.
In smart perception, human-computer interaction, smart terminals, smart robotics, and other related fields will be used to create products with strong competitiveness for smart cities, manufacturing, and transportation.
Development in large-scale intelligent applications in areas such as medical care and poverty alleviation will help achieve the innovation of core technologies, promote the construction of a modern industrial system, improve the level of social governance, and create a high-quality lifestyle for residents as part of an innovation highland and intelligent application demonstration base.
According to the strategy, Chongqing has set development goals in 12 key smart industries across multiple fields. Namely, these are big data, artificial intelligence, integrated circuits, supercomputing, software services, the Internet of Things, automotive electronics, smart robots, smart hardware, smart connected cars, intelligent manufacturing equipment, and digital content.
In the field of big data, the objective is to accelerate the concentration and opening of data resources, achieve breakthroughs in core technologies, and build an independent and controllable big data industry chain.
As for intelligent manufacturing, the focus is being placed upon the development of precision equipment, metal 3D printers, laser processing, and robotics, which have served to increase efficiency, output, and product quality while reducing labor costs and safety issues.
By the end of 2018, the initial smart construction goals were achieved. These included an infrastructure network in information, enhanced internet speeds of megabytes per second in households, and gigabytes in enterprises. At the same time, free WLAN coverage in key public welfare spaces came to exceed 90%.
Resource sharing and exchange platforms in the six basic databases of natural persons, legal persons, spatial geography, comprehensive social governance, credit information, and investment projects were fully implemented, along with 26 service project applications for smart life, economy, and governance.
Chongqing is planning to fully deploy the 5G network infrastructure by the end of 2020. Technological research into 5G applications in services and commerce are under constant development, while promotional activities to encourage large-scale adoption of this upgrade among society continues unabated.
The advances of smart city development in Chongqing is leading industry at both municipal and nationwide levels, as the initial phase of a new era in smart cities, characterized through ubiquity, integration, and cutting edge AI technology has been implemented.
Smart platforms for medicine, health, education, and transport systems have been constructed in order to achieve high-end development through the smart economy. In contrast, information technology and industrialization have realized the fruition of an integrated urban management system, a smart manufacturing pilot demonstration area, and other projects aimed at providing smart government services.
Smart industry and ecological living go hand in hand
Following a set ratio of ecological land to production, education, research, and living space, the overall coverage of parks, green spaces, and forests has reached over 50%. This endeavor has created an urban environment that is half landscape, half cityscape, thus achieving the integration of science and technology with humanities and ecology.
Lijia Intelligent Park is a fine illustration of the harmony between technology and ecological preservation. Phase I of the project opened during the 2nd Smart China Expo and is now an exhibition area for popular science where visitors can experience artificial intelligence, big data, and the Internet of Things. The park has received wide recognition and popularity and receives more than 10,000 visitors every day.
Nearby, the Yuelai Convention and Exhibition City have become a showcase for Chongqing as an open highland in Southwest China. In addition to state of the art convention and exhibition facilities, Yuelai has integrated the concepts of ecology, intelligence, and humanity into a smart city of the future where people feel a strong desire to reside.
Grace Li commented on the ecological environment where Zisun Technology is based. ‘Of course, the local ecology has advantages for our company. As you know, we live in a mountain city, but Yubei has a flatter terrain compared to other districts. This is very important to company development because this helps transportation.’
‘Also, there are plants, forests, and fresh air near the river that makes people feel very good, so they can enjoy working here.’
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