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Foxconn chief bullish on industrial internet sector

By Fan Feifei and Yang Cheng in Tianjin | China Daily | Updated: 2018-05-18 10:43
A Chinese netizen browses the website of Foxconn Technology Group in Ji'nan city, East China's Shandong province, Feb 11, 2018. [Photo/IC]

Intelligent manufacturing to transform industries, reduce development costs

Foxconn Technology Group is poised to ramp up its work in the burgeoning industrial internet, which will bring about huge development opportunities for the real economy, said the company's chairman Terry Gou at the ongoing Second World Intelligence Congress in Tianjin.

"We should take the lead in promoting intelligent manufacturing, as well as boosting the integration of the internet, big data and artificial intelligence with the real economy by virtue of our 30 years of experience in research and development, and sophisticated manufacturing," Gou said.

The industrial internet refers to a network of combined, advanced machines with internet-connected sensors and big data analytics, which is expected to boost productivity and reduce costs in industrial production.

Gou said the industrial internet will witness explosive growth, and there will be more than 50 billion machines connected via the internet of things by 2020.

He said he is bullish on the potential of the industrial internet to generate opportunities for the manufacturing industry, as the convergence of the real economy and the internet economy is looming at large.

Foxconn Industrial Internet Co Ltd, a subsidiary, filed an application on Monday for an IPO in Shanghai. It hopes to raise capital to build an industrial internet platform and upgrade its intelligent manufacturing.

The company plans to use the proceeds to fund eight projects totaling 27.3 billion yuan ($4.3 billion), in the industrial internet, cloud computing, data centers, communication networks, fifth-generation mobile communications, the internet of things, intelligent manufacturing and industry upgrades.

Jay Lee, professor at the University of Cincinnati, said that the industrial internet is set to transform the traditional manufacturing sector and further reduce costs, thanks to quality and productivity improvements. He made the comments at the Sino-US industrial internet development forum during the World Intelligence Congress.

China is due to unveil a three-year plan to boost the development of the industrial internet, part of broader drive to promote intelligent manufacturing. In November, the State Council issued a guideline, aiming to build three to five industrial internet platforms that will reach international standards by 2025.

"China is transforming from a manufacturing giant to a world manufacturing power, but manufacturing sector development is unbalanced along the value chain. Small and medium-sized enterprises need to improve their production efficiency and management models, as well as reduce their manufacturing costs," said Xu Lihong, CEO of A.BRAIN Research Institute of Intelligent Manufacturing.

Haier Group, the country's largest home appliances manufacturer, is marching ahead in the industrial internet sector. CosmoPlat, Haier's industrial internet system, is designed to allow companies to customize products at speed and scale, while boosting productivity and cutting costs.

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