Digital transformation highlighted for gaining manufacturing prowess
Governmental officials, industry experts and enterprises called for efforts in digital transformation to promote the high-quality development of China's manufacturing sector.
They made the remarks at the 2023 Guizhou Conference on High-Quality Development of Manufacturing Industry Driven by Digital Transformation in Guiyang last week.
"Digitalization is accelerating the profound transformation of the production methods of manufacturing, and has become an effective means to promote efficient collaboration and resource optimization in industrial and supply chains. It is an important path for the high-quality development of industry," said Yu Zhongchi, chairman of the China Machinery Enterprise Management Association.
Zhao Yongqing, chairman of the Guizhou Provincial Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, said, "The deep integration of the digital economy and real economy, together with the digital transformation of manufacturing, provides great potential and momentum for the country's high-quality economic development."
Domestic enterprises are already embracing digital and intelligent transformation. During the China Coal and Mining Expo 2023 held in Beijing on Oct 25, Chinese machinery manufacturing giant Sany Heavy Equipment Co Ltd showcased its latest achievements in the mining sector, including an underground inspection robot and an intelligent tunneling machine, which integrates multiple technologies such as digital twinning, automatic cutting and intelligent security, thus greatly contributing to reducing personnel and realizing unmanned subterranean operations.
At the exhibition area in the China International Exhibition Center in Beijing, the unmanned driving experience room of Sany's wide-body dump truck allowed visitors to remotely control Sany's truck located in an open-pit mine in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, enabling them to feel the convenience afforded by digital technologies.
"The digital and intelligent transformation of our products plays a crucial role in improving production efficiency and ensuring personnel security," said Yin Li, head of the coal and mining research institute of Sany Heavy Equipment.
According to a report issued by the CMEMA during the Guiyang event, total revenue of the country's top 500 machinery manufacturers rebounded last year, exceeding 10 trillion yuan ($1.4 trillion) in total, up 8.11 percent year-on-year. Additionally, 483 on the list had a positive return on equity.
Meanwhile, the ratio of enterprises' average research and development spending to total revenue reached 4.75 percent, 0.4 percentage point higher than last year, said the report.
According to the list of global top 500 machinery makers also unveiled at the event, China is home to 157 such makers, ranking first in number, followed by the United States, Japan and Germany.
The US topped the list for last year's total revenue, with the figure standing at $1.44 trillion, followed by Japan at $1.24 trillion. China ranks third at $960 billion.
"Although China has a dominant number of companies on the list, there is still a long way for Chinese players to go in terms of their business size and competitiveness," said Zhang Liguo, deputy chairman of the CMEMA.
Fang Dianjun, a professor at Tongji University and also a chief scientist at the German Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics, said that based on global experience, Chinese companies should improve the agility and resilience of their industrial supply chains, and focus on innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence and 5G.
Peter Sachsenmeier, an academician at the German National Academy for Science and Engineering, said, "We should build up resilience, change the logistics chain to more local production, and make friends with AI, machine learning and robotics, so as to achieve future success in smart manufacturing and in the management of the industrial economy."