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Smart Manufacturing Industrial International Cooperation Alliance Established in Beijing

On the initiative of the China Investment Promotion Agency (CIPA) of the Ministry of Commerce, the Smart Manufacturing Industrial International Cooperation Alliance (SMICA), a mechanism dedicated to promoting investment and cooperation in smart manufacturing, was established in Beijing on the afternoon of June 29, 2016. Featuring international cooperation, it will serve the smart manufacturing industry and promote investment in this field.

In recent years, manufacturing has once again become the strategic focus of countries around the world to boost their economy. While Germany proposed the Industry 4.0 strategy and the United States brought forward the Industry Internet, China launched the Made in China 2025 initiative according to its own economic development needs. In fact, smart manufacturing is embedded in all of these concepts. As a key direction of the Made in China 2025 initiative, smart manufacturing has come into practice instead of remaining a mere concept. However, the path of smart manufacturing is still in exploration, and efforts are needed to develop the standards and modes for the application of smart manufacturing in enterprises in different industries. The newly established SMICA will discuss issues concerning the development of smart manufacturing from the perspective of international cooperation, vitalize the smart manufacturing market, promote investment and cooperation in this field, and advance the proper application of smart manufacturing.

Bring together smart manufacturing stakeholders

Faced withF both opportunities and challenges, CIPA, dedicated to implementing the opening up policy and providing services for domestic and overseas investors, initiated the SMICA along with relevant suppliers, users, government departments, research institutes, trade associations, think tanks, consulting agencies and scholars, with a view to promoting the development of smart manufacturing via the non-profit investment, cooperation and exchange platform.

Featuring international cooperation, the SMICA will serve as a bridge for investment, cooperation and exchanges, and undertake the mission of vitalizing the smart manufacturing market, boosting investment in smart manufacturing and promoting the application of smart manufacturing, with an ultimate goal to drive the transformation and upgrading of China’s manufacturing industry.

At the seminar, Yi Yang, Deputy Director-general of CIPA, gave updates on the agency’s work in recent years in building the international network, the industrial investment promotion platform and other aspects, introduced the background of the establishment of SMICA, and expressed his expectations. He said that more enterprises will be welcome to SMICA, so it can have abundant resources and do solid work to support and facilitate exchanges, investment and cooperation in related industries.

Ten key areas of work determined

To regulate the operation of SMICA, CIPA formulated the statute based on the opinions and suggestions of smart manufacturing enterprises, research institutes and experts. Yu Shuai, head of smart manufacturing of CIPA’s machinery department, gave an overview of the statute to the participants.

SMICA’s main work is to: organize exchange and business promotion activities on a regular and irregular basis, develop the annual report on the promotion of smart manufacturing industrial investment, conduct international exchanges, hold professional training programs, disclose information on a regular basis, promote project matchmaking, investment and cooperation, build smart manufacturing clusters, establish a smart manufacturing industrial investment fund, and complete entrusted projects.

So far, it has entrusted, a manufacturing service platform, to develop China’s first annual report on the promotion of smart manufacturing industrial investment and later, the two sides will discuss cooperation in releasing a series of reports on smart manufacturing.

Shedding light on smart manufacturing

At the seminar, the participants voiced their understanding of smart manufacturing and opinions on promoting its development. They also expressed high expectations of SMICA.

Think-tank experts: Giving full play to the role of SMICA in connecting domestic and international enterprises

Wang Xiaoming, director of No. 1 Research Office of Industrial Economics Research Department of the State Council’s Development Research Center (DRC), said that the Made in China 2025 initiative should be an inclusive development strategy in that China needs more extensive international cooperation. The transformation and upgrading of China’s manufacturing industry needs the support and guidance of world-class manufacturing service companies, which should be an indispensible ancillary force in the process of the Made in China 2025 initiative. He hoped that the SMICA can bring into full play its role in dovetailing information, business opportunities and investment to help Chinese enterprises go global and foreign enterprises invest in China.

Li Xiaoyong, CEO of, a leading consulting agency and the only one dedicated to the automation industry in China, also brought forward his opinions. As to international cooperation in smart manufacturing, he said that smart manufacturing is not “independent” industrial upgrading in a single company; in fact, it is reflected in the government-guided industrial environment featuring the synergy between production, teaching and research, and only when the upstream and downstream industrial chains are integrated can smart manufacturing truly realize healthy and sustainable development. He suggested that foreign-invested automation enterprises, while setting eyes on the market opportunities downstream in the industrial chain of smart manufacturing, should give attention to providing services for upstream enterprises and bringing these enterprises advanced concepts and technology. Delegates from professional consulting firms including Deloitte and Roland Berger also gave their opinions about the status quo of smart manufacturing in China.

Representatives from foreign companies: Enterprises should play a leading role with government support

Bao Chongkan, Director of Greater China Government Relations at Rockwell Automation, said outright that it is not advisable for the state to set smart manufacturing development standards, which in effect should lie in the hands of enterprises. He also pointed out that entrepreneurs and the market should together determine the industry’s future, while the government should give necessary support instead of playing a predominant role.

Ms. Wang Jie, Vice President of Schneider Electric (China), hoped that with the favorable policies for smart manufacturing, SMICA can help multinational companies to play a greater role in the transformation and upgrading of China’s manufacturing industry, and foreign-funded enterprises will be given more opportunities to take part in the development of technical standards. She also mentioned the importance of specialists to smart manufacturing, and expressed the company’s intention to promote talent development together with other stakeholders.

Lao Dongwei, Director of Government Relations of Emerson Electric, pointed out that SMICA should capitalize on the special positioning and advantageous resources of CIPA to help member enterprises overcome the constraints and promote each other.

Xin Yu, Sales Director at Business Department of Comau, acknowledged the success of well-known companies present at the seminar over the past decades and in the first half of 2016, but he warned that the advent of Industry 4.0 will bring about tremendous changes to the industrial landscape. Therefore, he reminded that SMICA should not overlook those enterprises “sitting in the corner” and should be more open to small and medium-sized enterprises with great potential.

Zhao Xin, Deputy General Manager of Beijing 3D Printing Research Institute, pointed out that smart manufacturing is not equal to automation. “The development process of manufacturing, especially the auto industry, tells us that we must have our own core technology, and that is the ultimate goal of developing smart manufacturing”, he said.



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