Guangdong launches ‘Industrial Internet’ parks

Guangdong has stablished the first eight of ten planned “5G + Industrial Internet” parks – demonstration zones where key manufacturing companies can experiment with the development of “new infrastructure”. 

Guangzhou and Huizhou each have two of the parks. The other four are in Shenzhen, Foshan, Zhuhai and Zhanjiang. Dongguan has not yet been awarded a park, despite being home to Huawei’s R&D center, as well as the two smartphone giants, Oppo and Vivo. The provincial government has said, however, that construction of a second batch of parks is under way. 

Huizhou might seem like a strange choice for two parks, while Shenzhen has only one. Yet the decision appears to have more to do with the type of industries targeted for transformation, and the companies clustered in the parks, and Huizhou has plenty of land available for development. Each of the parks is spearheaded by a prominent company, a leader in its industry. They are: Jingxin Communication and Haozhi Electromechanical in Guangzhou; TCL Smart Terminals and China Construction Steel Structure in Huizhou; Midea Kitchen Electric in Foshan; Foxconn in Shenzhen, Gree Electric in Zhuhai; and Zhanjiang Iron and Steel in Zhanjiang.

The provincial government has apparently begun construction of the next batch of parks, and has called on “all levels of cities to encourage local industry consortia to formulate specific implementation work plans in accordance with the requirements of the ‘Pilot Program’.”

The goal of the plan is fast development of new applications and technologies based on the superfast speeds of the province’s 5G network, which has opened companies to new modes of development. By 2022, Guangdong expects to have full 5G coverage, and the parks will be home to businesses generating at least 10 billion yuan of annual income. 

The local media reports do not mention what these businesses might be. But reports have been circulating of examples such as “smart roads”, where tech infrastructure is built into roads so that autonomous driving can be managed in collaboration with networks, rather than only by vehicles with onboard computers. The names of Midea and Gree suggest that another obvious focus will be home appliances: seeing how aircons, fridges, etc can be made to work more efficiently on 5G networks. Foxconn is an obvious example of how 5G can be used to improve manufacturing processes and build new as-yet unimagined devices. China Construction and Zhanjiang Iron and Steel provide tantalizing suggestions of how big the thinking is behind the new projects as they strive to develop “smart buildings”.  

Read more (in Chinese) on SCN.

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