New infrastructure construction gives a leg up to China's manufacturing

(People's Daily Online) 10:02, August 18, 2023

New infrastructure construction has become a big driver in the digital transformation, intelligent upgrading and collaborative innovation of China's manufacturing industry.

In the first half of 2023, the country's investment in new infrastructure construction increased by 16.2 percent year on year, of which investment in new information infrastructure such as 5G, and data centers rose by 13.1 percent, and investment in new integrated infrastructure including industrial internet and smart transportation surged by 34.1 percent, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics.

Photo shows a cloud data center of Chinese tech giant Huawei in Gui'an New Area of Guiyang, capital of southwest China's Guizhou Province. (Xinhua/Tao Liang)

The building of computing power infrastructure became a highlight of China's economic performance in the first six months of this year. The country's total computing power scale ranks second globally, and has grown by about 30 percent annually, data from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) shows.

Su Huanlong, senior relationship manager of Lenovo Group in China's northwest regions, has often been traveling between Lanzhou city and Jinchang city in northwest China's Gansu Province.

"With a total investment of 50 million yuan ($6.9 million), the second phase of the high-performance computing platform of Gansu Zijin Cloud Big Data Developing Ltd. Co. (Zijin Cloud) officially started in April this year," Su said.

As a hub of China's national computing power network, Gansu has taken the initiative to scale up investment in new infrastructure construction such as a high-performance computing platform to contribute to the country's east-to-west computing resource transfer project, Su added.

"After it is completed, the second phase will undertake low-latency and high-performance computing demand from enterprises in fields such as big data, artificial intelligence, and blockchain in eastern regions. This will provide stronger support for large-scale computing tasks, including scientific research, engineering design, and data analysis, serving economic and social development," said Su.

5G is an important part of new infrastructure construction and a key driver of the digital transformation and upgrading of the real economy, said Zhao Zhiguo, MIIT spokesman and chief engineer.

An employee checks cable products at the Deqing Smart Industrial Park of Zetastone Cable Co., Ltd. in Huzhou city, east China's Zhejiang Province. Since the beginning of this year, the city has supported enterprises in building intelligent workshops by using new-generation information technologies including 5G, big data and industrial internet. (Photo/Wang Shucheng)

China has built the world's largest and most technically advanced 5G network. As of the end of June 2023, the number of 5G base stations in China had reached 2.94 million, covering all urban areas of prefecture-level cities and county seats, and the coverage is continuously expanding, Zhao added.

"There have been more than 50,000 cases of 5G applications in 60 major categories of the national economy," Zhao said.

The application of 5G ensures better control of production quality. Zhejiang Truelove Vogue Co., Ltd. (Zhejiang Truelove), a company based in Yiwu city, east China's Zhejiang Province that produces nearly 50,000 tonnes of blankets annually, hopes to guarantee the quality of its products from the source.

Thanks to cooperation with China Mobile, which launched a quality inspection program by deploying 5G and artificial intelligence for Zhejiang Truelove, each warp knitting machine in the company is equipped with 24 sets of industrial cameras. Images of blanket weaving are sent to a cloud server for quality inspection through real-time signal transmissions under the 5G network. Once defects are detected by the industrial cameras, the warp knitting machine will immediately stop operating and adjust in a timely manner to improve the rate of superior products as much as possible, said Zheng Kan, deputy general manager of the Yiwu branch of China Mobile.

As regions across China advance new infrastructure construction, the industrial internet is giving a boost to manufacturing enterprises, bringing new opportunities to the integration of digital technologies with the real economy.

Conch (Anhui) Energy Saving and Environment Protection New Material Co., Ltd. and COSMOPlat IoT Technology Co., Ltd. built an industrial internet platform for the production of doors and windows. By the end of May this year, Conch had received over 16,000 orders via the industrial internet platform, with its cumulative sales revenue exceeding 500 million yuan.

This achievement is attributed to the industrial internet that has brought huge changes to Conch's production processes. In the company's workshop, an advanced planning and scheduling system that replaces manual work has cut the required scheduling time to less than half an hour from two to three hours. Workers only need to achieve real-time monitoring and dispatching of orders and resources on their phones.

"The platform has helped enterprises realize the integration of full-process business data including contract signing, internal scheduling, logistics transportation, and customer feedback," said Zhang Junwei, an executive of COSMOPlat, adding that new infrastructure construction is of great significance to manufacturing.

By the end of July this year, China was home to over 200,000 enterprises related to the industrial internet, according to corporate information provider Tianyancha. Between January and July this year, more than 60,000 enterprises related to the industrial internet were added, up 45.3 percent year on year.

(Web editor: Hongyu, Liang Jun)


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