China nurtures 240 influential platforms in area seen as critical to tech mastery
China will draft new policies to promote the development of the industrial internet — a tech frontier in which all major economies are scrambling to establish a beachhead — as it is widely seen as a cornerstone of the fourth industrial revolution, the country's top industry regulator said on Thursday.
The comments came as the industrial scale of China's industrial internet exceeds 1.2 trillion yuan ($167.7 billion). The industrial internet refers to the convergence of industrial systems with the power of advanced computing, analytics, sensing and new levels of connectivity.
Zhang Yunming, vice-minister of industry and information technology, said in a speech at the 2023 Industrial Internet Conference in Suzhou, Jiangsu province, that the industrial internet is an important cornerstone of the fourth industrial revolution, a key foundation for the deep integration of the digital economy and the real economy, and a strategic infrastructure for new industrialization.
Zhang called on local governments to increase collaboration with his ministry and strengthen policy coordination and support such as funding, technology, talent, and data in order to continuously optimize the policy environment for the innovation and development of the industrial internet.
The move comes as this year marks the end of Zhang's ministry's three-year plan for the innovative development of the industrial internet.
Facing new situations, tasks and requirements, the ministry will draft new policies to promote the high-quality development of industrial internet, Zhang added.
"We must adopt problem-oriented approaches, and focus on solving the pain points and difficulties that restrict the large-scale promotion of the industrial internet," Zhang said, calling for more efforts to achieve breakthroughs in crucial technologies and applications.
He said that so far, China has nurtured 240 influential industrial internet platforms, and 28 of them are cross-industry and cross-domain platforms.
Moreover, the country has built a comprehensive identification and analysis system for the industrial internet, which covers 31 provincial-level regions, serving over 260,000 enterprises.
The Alliance of Industrial Internet has attracted over 2,500 domestic and international members from over 80 industries, becoming the world's largest ecological cooperation carrier in the field of industrial internet, according to the ministry.
Wu Hequan, an academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said more efforts are needed to beef up the development of industrial central processing units, which are important computing hardware for the industrial internet.
Yuan Jie, chairman of China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp, said the company will ratchet up resources to achieve breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, industrial software and other key technologies so as to better hone the company's edge in the industrial internet for the aerospace industry.
Pang Songtao, general manager of Inspur Yunzhou, a unit of Inspur Group that focuses on the industrial internet, said it is an effective tool to bridge the digital divide. In addition to parks and industrial clusters, the company has helped several sectors including equipment, electronics, chemicals, mining, steel, energy and food to embrace digital transformation in research and development, design, production and manufacturing.
Xiao Rongmei, deputy head of the institute of policy and economics at the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, said that in 2022, 53 industrial internet companies had initial public offerings, bringing the total number of listed industrial internet companies to 277 by the end of May.