Tag Archives: smart manufacturing

Jiangmen unveils ‘Western Hub’ plans

Guangzhou and Shenzhen are not the only cities in the Greater Bay Area capable of dreaming big. Jiangmen, the region’s westernmost municipality, has unveiled big plans for its future development as a “western hub” connecting the Bay Area to other parts of Guangdong.

The plan focuses on three key districts: Pengjiang, which will become a commercial center, Jianghai, a science and innovation center, and Xinhui, an integrated transportation hub. Naturally, multiple high-speed railways are a key part of the plan, which will connect the city with Zhanjiang and Maoming to the west, Guangzhou and Zhaoqing to the north, and Shenzhen to the east. Two metro lines will be built within the city, while an intercity network will run to three nearby airport: Guangzhou Baiyun, Zhuhai Jinwan, and the newly planned Pearl River Delta New Trunk Airport.

In terms of industry, Jiangmen is planning to build four clusters: healthcare and medical; smart manufacturing; new energy and new materials; and photonics. Artificial intelligence and biotech will be woven into these industries through collaboration with innovation hubs in Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Foshan, and Zhuhai.

Seven strategic functional areas have been planned, including a logistics base, a modern technology and innovation town, an international China-Europe cooperation zone, a residence island for high-end talents, and several economic new towns.

Read more in Chinese.

Robots rising in Guangzhou  

Intelligent equipment is already a major industry in Guangzhou, reporting output last year of RMB56.7 billion, up 6.8%, according to Nanfang Daily. Within this segment, however, industrial robots are seen as particularly promising. Although still dwarfed by assembly-line systems (accounting for 90% of sales), sales of robots came in at RMB1.72 billion, up more than 50% over 2017.

In 2018, Guangzhou companies purchased a total of 5,117 robots, of which 3,721 were imported and 1,396 were domestically produced – with 835 coming from within Guangdong. The robots were mainly used in the automotive manufacturing, metal products and general equipment manufacturing industry.

China still has a long way to go in building its smart-manufacturing industry. Korea is currently the global leader, with a ratio of 700 robots to every industrial 10,000 workers.  In Japan and Germany, the number is 340. China is 90, below the global average of 97.

Read more (in Chinese).

Sanshui focuses on robots for smart manufacturing

Sanshui, one of Foshan’s five administrative districts, is nurturing a home-grown robot manufacturing industry to help traditional manufacturers accelerate their pace for intelligent manufacturing. In the first four months of the year, the 27 manufacturing enterprises in Sanshui added 254 robots into their production, with a total investment of RMB104 million.

Through the use of robots to carry out technological transformation, more and more Sanshui companies are developing intelligent manufacturing to enhance their competitiveness.

Sanshui is advancing the intelligent transformation of local industries by encouraging the companies to apply robotic technology around the manufacturing of automobile and parts, hardware products, electronics, rubber and plastics, household appliances, building materials and ceramics.

Read more (in Chinese).

Dongguan’s smart manufacturing DNA

Here’s another interesting feature story about Dongguan, which appeared in the Guangzhou Daily.

Dongguan Mayor Han Yafei said at last month’s China Development Forum that one out of every four mobile phones in the world is made in Dongguan. Only few months ago, it was still only one in five.

The opening of the Nansha Bridge and the announcement of the manufacturing industry’s tax rate reduced to 13% from 16% have given the manufacturing industry along the Pearl River Delta a new boost and Dongguan seems to be poised to reap the benefits, according to the report.

Currently, Dongguan is the centre of an enviable supply chain of smart phone manufacturing, from design concepts to component manufacturing to overall unit production. The city has 73 communications technology enterprises. The mobile phone output of Huawei, OPPO and Vivo are China’s top three and, together with Apple and Samsung, the world’s top five.

At the city’s harborside new district, OPPO recently secured a 800,000 square meter parcel for RMB517 million. The company plans to invest RMB5 billion in the next four years to build another smart manufacturing center there.

In the same area sits China’s flagship state-owned chipmaker, Tsinghua Unigroup, with a 2000-acre industrial park that took in over RMB100 billion of investment, the largest in Dongguan’s history.

All of this could be said goes back to 1995, when the world’s then-leading phone-maker, Nokia, picked the city as its manufacturing base. It was soon followed by Samsung. Both companies formed an upstream and downstream supply chain in the area.

Also in the same year, Chinese entrepreneur Duan Yongping, a widely regarded business leader, was attracted to found BBK Electronics. The company produced cells phones, VCD players, DVD players, TVs and computers, which later morphed into some of China’s leading IT manufacturing enterprises, of which OPPO and VIVO are the best-known.

In 2011, both OPPO and VIVO entered the smartphone manufacturing industry. Today, there are about 1,000 downstream and upstream enterprises in the area supporting these two major phone-makers.

Dongguan waves goodbye to the Nokia era

For Chinese readers, there is a feature story about Dongguan worth looking at in the latest issue of National Business Daily. It begins with an event that took place last week, when the city’s Natural Resources Bureau issued a public notice on the redevelopment of the old Nokia factory, which closed in 2015 after 20 years of operations. That closure marked the beginning of a major transition for Dongguan away from traditional manufacturing and hurtling toward a new era of “smart manufacturing”. It is today the fastest-growing of the 11 major cities in the GBA.

In the feature, titled “Waving goodbye to the Nokia era”, the story of Dongguan’s metamorphosis from an agricultural county to a manufacturing hub looks further into the future and examines the possibilities brought to the city by the Greater Bay Area initiative.

It has not always been an easy journey up to this point. In 2008, the global financial crisis highlighted the vulnerability of Dongguan to the vagaries of low-end manufacturing in a competitive globalized marketplace. Rising labor costs led many OEM companies to flee the city, forcing Dongguan to shift its focus to high-end manufacturing.

There were some bold decision-makers around, fortunately. In early 2013, China International Marine Containers Group invested RMB6 billion in south Dongguan’s Songshan Lake district to build a new kind of industrial park. In 2014, the world’s largest paper manufacturer, Nine Dragons Paper, chose Songshan Lake as its headquarters. Tech giant Huawei also recently built a replica of European township here to house its 2,700-strong work force, which moved over from Shenzhen.

Bordering Shenzhen, Songshan Lake has attracted Foxconn, cloud computing service provider ChinaSoft International, optical product manufacturer Lens Technology and biotech company 3SBIO, among many others. The Dongguan government has meanwhile invested RMB2.7 billion in building a robotics industry base here, attracting more than 156 companies. In 2017, Songshan Lake recorded RMB38.6 billion in GDP; For 2018, it’s estimated to reach RMB63 billion, up 63%.

Songshan Lake’s ascent mirrors Dongguan’s transformation as a whole. The development blueprint of the Greater Bay Area has given Zhuhai and Foshan the responsibility of building a manufacturing industrial belt for high end equipment, while Dongguan, along with Shenzhen, is tasked with creating a globally competitive industrial cluster for online businesses.

Dongguan lags quite a way behind Shenzhen and Guangzhou, at less than half their size in GDP. Its industrial hinterland is not as wide as Guangzhou’s, while it is not seen as being as open to new forms of fundraising or services as Shenzhen is.

Moreover, the article says, Dongguan needs to improve its connectivity to other cities as well as polish its brand image. This is being worked on: the opening of the new Nansha Bridge on April 2 will reduce commute times from other cities and counties, while numerous road and rail projects are under way to bring Dongguan within the one-hour living circle of the Greater Bay Area.