Haier chairman sees bigger role for industrial internet sector


Visitors are introduced to COSMOPlat, Haier's industrial internet platform, at a free-trade zone in Qingdao, Shandong province, on Nov 30, 2020. [Photo by ZHANG JINGANG/FOR CHINA DAILY]

The industrial internet is expected to play a bigger role in empowering the high-quality development of the digital economy and promoting regional economic transformation and upgrading, said Zhou Yunjie, chairman and CEO of Chinese home appliance giant Haier Group and a deputy to the 13th National People's Congress.

The key to bolstering urban digital transformation lies in economic digitization and the industrial internet has become a new engine driving the growth of the digital economy in cities, Zhou said.

In his proposal to this year's two sessions-the annual meetings of China's top legislature and political advisory body-Zhou called for increased financial support and encouragement to cities where conditions permit the building of city-level comprehensive industrial internet service platforms, and guiding leading enterprises in the industrial chain and industrial internet platform-based enterprises to jointly build vertical industry platforms.

The industrial internet, a new type of manufacturing automation that combines advanced machines, internet-connected sensors and big data analysis, will boost productivity and reduce costs in industrial production.

China's industrial internet sector has developed rapidly in recent years. According to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the country has nurtured over 100 industrial internet platforms that have strong regional and industry influence, with 76 million units of industrial equipment connected to the platforms, which have served 1.6 million industrial enterprises covering over 40 key industries.

COSMOPlat, Haier's industrial internet platform, is a large-scale platform that allows companies to customize products quickly and at scale by collecting and analyzing data from consumers, suppliers and factories, while boosting productivity and cutting costs.

Zhou said China should build a top-tier open source community for the industrial internet with 15 cross-industry and cross-domain platforms as core members, invite more than 600 industrial internet platforms to join the community, and establish a national industrial internet open source fund.

"At present, 97 percent of global software developers and 99 percent of enterprises use open source software, and more than 70 percent of the world's new software projects adopt the open source model," Zhou said.

He said open source technology has expanded into traditional manufacturing and the chip sector and it is conducive to boosting the development of the industrial internet.

More efforts should also be made to integrate open source technology and related practical training with the education system to nurture more open source talent, Zhou said.

The value of China's industrial internet market is projected to reach 892 billion yuan ($141 billion) this year, according to a research report released by Beijing-based market research company CCID Consulting.

Zhou called for joint efforts to establish a data compliance governance system for the smart home appliance industry in the next one to three years to better protect data security and privacy.

The industrial internet should be established on the basis of traditional industries and information and communication technology, said Ni Guangnan, an academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, adding more efforts should be made to facilitate the development of the industrial internet, which will boost the long-term international competitiveness of China's manufacturing industry.