Fourth Industrial Revolution in ChinaIan Wright (ENGINEERING.COM)
From ambitious upstarts like Ethiopia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to industrial powerhouse like China everyone wants a piece of the manufacturing pie.
So, what does the Industry look like outside of Europe and North America?
The Tianjin Economic-Technological Development Area
China’s Tianjin Economic-Technological Development Area (TEDA) is a prime example of the country’s Made in China 2025 strategy. Formed in 1984, the free market zone in Binhai is strategically located near both the Tianjin Binhai International Airport and the Tianjin Port.
According to the Administrative Committee for TEDA, the area has a GDP of $45 billion USD and a growth rate of over 10 percent. Moreover, its proximity to the Tianjin Port means that it stands to benefit considerably from China’s Belt and Road Initiative (formerly called One Belt, One Road), which will invest $900 billion to foster connectivity between China, the land-based Silk Road Economic Belt and the oceangoing Maritime Silk Road.
TEDA Intelligent Industrial Zone
In June, TEDA unveiled the Intelligent Industrial Zone, a 20-sq. km area intended to host companies developing new technologies, including artificial intelligence, intelligent finance and healthcare and smart logistics.
Overall, there are roughly 60 TEDA-based companies that specialize in intelligent manufacturing, including industrial robot maker Baolai Industrial Robotic and Yiersu Easy-Robot, which provides automation integration services for industrial systems.
TEDA is home to the largest instant noodle factory in the world, owned by Master Kong. The entire factory is highly automated, from flour mixing to packaging and everything in between.
TEDA is already home to China’s National Supercomputing Center, which is developing its Tianhe-3 supercomputer, capable of a billion billion calculations per second. It will provide services to companies in oil exploration, high-end equipment manufacturing, medicine and animation.
The area is also the location for the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ automation institute, set up in 2015 as an incubator focused on smart recognition technology. The incubator has spawned several successful companies, including Deepfar, which has developed an autonomous submarine capable of diving up to 100m and which using image-recognition algorithms to track sonar beacons.
U.S.-based companies are setting up shop in TEDA. In 2015, the Qualisys Benchmark Innovation Center was launched in a collaboration between American consultancy Munro and Associates and Shenzhen-based Qualisys. The center provides product analysis and re-engineering support to TEDA companies manufacturing parts for cars, aerial vehicles and high-speed trains.
It’s this inter-organizational cooperation that makes TEDA a prime example of the Fourth Industrial Revolution in China.