Made in China in the 5G era – 04/03/2021 – Tatiana Prazeres

Made in China is no longer synonymous with poor quality material. But now, powered by 5G, a new industrial revolution is underway. While some countries are still debating whether to allow or ban Chinese Huawei on their networks, the concerns here are obviously different.

The aim is to speed up the implementation of 5G infrastructure, which, by the way, also includes Nokia and Ericsson, albeit in a small proportion. However, attention is increasingly focused on the development and adoption of new technological applications. And it is especially in the industry where the Chinese will make a big difference.

First of all, 5G coverage. More than 300 Chinese cities currently have a 5G signal – there were 52 in 2019. By 2020, more than 718,000 5G base stations have been built. 600,000 more are planned for this year.

Second, the applications. It is said all the time that 5G internet is up to a hundred times faster than 4G, reducing the response time between command and action, and it promises an ultra-reliable connection. and what is this for?

Immersed in the 4G experience, we find it difficult to anticipate potential commercial and industrial applications of 5G technology, in addition to the usual examples of autonomous vehicles and remote surgeries. The concrete use given to 5G appears mainly in the wake of its implementation. And not before. Not in theory.

5G will enable the migration from the consumer internet to the industrial internet. And China is positioned to bring Industry 4.0 products and services to the world. Over the past decade, applications like WeChat and TikTok – from the mainstream Internet – have marked Chinese technology. With 5G, it will bear fruit in industry, but also in the countryside and in cities.

Why the haste? By taking the lead in the implementation of 5G, China offers companies in the country the opportunity to be pioneers both in the development of technological solutions and new business models and in the adoption, for example, of these innovations by industry.

In Qingdao, the “smart factory” of home appliance giant Haier uses 5G technology for machine collaboration, quality control and energy management. Reduction of maintenance costs by 30% thanks to information allowing preventive action and eliminating production interruptions.

By 2023, China plans to build 30 factories, in 10 different sectors, operating fully connected to 5G. As usual, the Chinese test, drive pilots and, as they work, scale the experience.

With the benefit of having moved first, China is racing to lead the application of 5G in industry. In addition to 5G and a strong industrial base, China has talent, capital, data, and enabling regulation – that is, an innovation ecosystem that helps. It brings the edges together, despite the critical dependence on imports of semiconductors, which imposes a weakness on it.

When the rest of the world finally has the infrastructure to adopt new industrial technologies – with artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and big data – no one should be surprised if the providers of these solutions are Chinese.

It should also come as no surprise that, in the meantime, Chinese industry has already become more competitive and holds an even larger share of world exports. As at the Qingdao factory, the Chinese started earlier.

Countries that waste time today will complain about competition with China tomorrow. If they are careless, they may be left to produce shoddy trinkets.

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