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China speeds up digital transformation of manufacturing sector

2024-05-14 00:00xinhua
by xinhua
File photo shows the NIO Second Advanced Manufacturing Base in Hefei, east China's Anhui Province.The NIO Second Advanced Manufacturing Base is a digital intelligent factory with workshops such as stamping, car body, painting and final assembly. (Xinhua)

China has started to channel more energy into the digital transformation of its manufacturing sector to foster new quality productive forces and strengthen the economic momentum.

During a recent executive meeting, the State Council adopted an action plan aimed at advancing manufacturing digitalization. The plan includes measures to fulfill manufacturing needs across diverse scenarios, accelerate technological advancements, and enhance supporting efforts ranging from setting up standards to building service platforms.

Digital transformation is key to advancing new industrialization and the building of a modernized industrial system, according to the meeting.

As Chinese manufacturers have entered a critical stage in their digital shift, the latest government policies will provide guidance for them to speed up their digital drive and facilitate technological application and innovation, according to experts.

Zhu Minghao, a professor at Beijing Jiaotong University, said that a digitalized manufacturing industry is crucial to the development of new quality productive forces, as the deep integration of the digital economy and the real economy will create new business forms, new models and new services.

For three consecutive years, China has launched smart manufacturing pilot projects, building 421 national-level demonstration factories along with over 10,000 provincial-level digital workshops and smart factories.

Technologies such as artificial intelligence and digital twins have been applied in more than 90 percent of the demonstration plants. 5G has been promoted on a large scale in quality inspection, mining production and other fields. The Industrial Internet now spans all major sectors, with over 200 application examples established.

Embracing the digital trend has brought tangible benefits to numerous producers across the country. For example, Jiangxi Huayuan Knitting Co., Ltd., located in east China's Jiangxi Province, previously had to produce a minimum of 200 kg of products to generate 1 kg of samples with the machinery continuing to run. However, following an over-10-million-yuan (about 1.41 million U.S. dollars) digital upgrade, the company has significantly minimized production waste and slashed costs.

Gao Wengen, the manager of Huayuan, said that the company can now produce 2 grams of clothing at the same unit cost as producing 2 tonnes.

Such digital shifts have resulted in a 9-percentage-point decrease in the proportion of high energy-consuming manufacturing industries in Jiangxi's total energy consumption over the past two years, compared to the early period of the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020). The province now aims to achieve digital transformation in over 10,000 enterprises in about two years.

The State Council meeting emphasized support for the digital transition of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), particularly encouraging them to upgrade their equipment and technologies.

Zhu called for efforts to foster a batch of specialized tech companies capable of providing customized and cost-effective transformation solutions tailored to the needs of SMEs.

During an inspection tour last week in east China's Zhejiang Province, a major manufacturing base, Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Guoqing stressed the need for support for the digital transformation of SMEs.

China will enhance public services for SMEs and assist them in sharpening their business edges so that more innovative firms can spring up that utilize specialized and sophisticated technologies to create novel and unique products, Zhang said.