Em­pow­er­ing in­dus­try with in­sights GE China’s CEO Rachel Duan is in­tent on con­tin­u­ing to put ‘long-term laser fo­cus’ on the coun­try

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - BUSINESS ADVERTORIAL - By JING SHUIYU jing­shuiyu@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Rachel Duan, pres­i­dent and CEO of GE China and se­nior vice-pres­i­dent of US-based Gen­eral Elec­tric Co, is known for her long-term ef­forts to make in­no­va­tion a key part of China’s in­dus­trial trans­for­ma­tion.

Since July 2014, she has been helm­ing the China unit of the tech­nol­ogy and ser­vice be­he­moth, and driv­ing its ef­forts to turn data into ac­tion­able in­sights for a wide ar­ray of Chi­nese in­dus­trial busi­nesses, from power to healthcare, avi­a­tion, and in­tel­li­gent en­vi­ron­ment.

Duan be­lieves China has be­come the fastest-grow­ing mar­ket for the multi­na­tional, coast­ing on con­tin­u­ously op­ti­mized per­for­mance in its in­dus­trial op­er­a­tions.

“That’s why GE will con­tinue to put long-term laser fo­cus on China,” Duan said. “Sec­tors like power, healthcare, avi­a­tion, you name it, are all in our plan.”

GE China has set for it­self the goal of bag­ging or­ders worth $10 bil­lion by 2020.

To reach that goal, it has un­veiled a com­pre­hen­sive suite of big data tools and soft­ware that can trans­form how Chi­nese com­pa­nies man­age and main­tain their ma­chin­ery.

The dig­i­tal ini­tia­tives rep­re­sent op­por­tu­ni­ties for China to achieve the na­tional goals of Made in China 2025, which aims to com­pre­hen­sively up­grade the in­dus­try, ac­cord­ing to Duan, who has over 20 years of ex­pe­ri­ence in GE and in China.

Among them is Predix, an in­dus­trial cloud-based plat­form. Sim­ply put, it would be for fac­to­ries and plants what op­er­at­ing sys­tems such as iOS and An­droid are for mobile phones.

Through con­nect­ing machines and data an­a­lyt­ics, in­dus­trial pro­duc­tiv­ity and ef­fi­ciency are set to be un­locked, Duan said, cit­ing the lat­est Predix-en­abled ap­pli­ca­tions.

For in­stance, Renji Hos­pi­tal de­ployed a pi­lot so­lu­tion, called As­set Per­for­mance Man­age­ment, to im­prove its as­set man­age­ment and work­flow.

By an­a­lyz­ing clin­i­cal big data, it en­ables the hos­pi­tal to in­crease util­ity of key equip­ment by 20 per­cent and el­e­vate equip­ment up­time from 95 per­cent to 98.5 per­cent, sav­ing $460,000 in main­te­nance cost. Pa­tient wait­ing time was cut from six to eight weeks to one week.

It has op­er­ated smoothly in sev­eral pi­lot projects, and a cas­cade of deals is likely to fol­low, Duan said.

Be­sides, GE worked with China East­ern Air­lines to track and di­ag­nose 500 jet en­gines of the fleet, re­duc­ing the cy­cle of di­ag­no­sis by 90 per­cent.

It is es­ti­mated that by 2020, over 6,000 jet en­gines in China can ben­e­fit from Predix-based data an­a­lyt­ics ser­vice to im­prove their ef­fi­ciency and re­li­a­bil­ity.

GE an­tic­i­pates Predix-based new in­dus­trial in­ter­net ap­pli­ca­tions will gen­er­ate at least $15 bil­lion of new value for GE by 2020.

In China, in­ter­net gi­ants and in­dus­trial pow­er­houses are locked in a fierce bat­tle as providers of cloud-based ser­vices.

Backed by de­mand from an ever-in­creas­ing num­ber of big com­pa­nies and even smaller ones, China’s cloud-com­put­ing in­dus­try is pre­dicted to top 430 bil­lion yuan in sales by 2019, up from 150 bil­lion yuan in 2015, the Min­istry of In­dus­try and In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy said in an an­nounce­ment.

In­dus­trial cloud com­put­ing will be one of the top pri­or­i­ties in the three-year plan start­ing in 2017. In the plan, the minis- try calls for fur­ther pro­mo­tion of set­ting up pi­lot projects based on in­dus­trial cloud.

Com­ment­ing on the spir­ited com­pe­ti­tion, Duan said in­dus­trial in­ter­net, as an open, hy­brid plat­form, re­quires strong co­op­er­a­tion from all sides.

“In fact, the con­cept is still evolv­ing, and com­pa­nies are in dif­fer­ent stages of ex­plor­ing cloud-based ap­pli­ca­tions op­ti­mized for their re­quire­ments,” she said. “To turn data into ac­tion­able in­sights, in­dus­try lead­ers need to act to­gether to en­able data shar­ing.”

Ad­mit­ting that tra­di­tional in­dus­trial en­ter­prises lag be­hind in­ter­net com­pa­nies in terms of cloud in­fra­struc­ture, Duan is lead­ing her team to carve out a unique com­bi­na­tion of deep in­dus­trial do­main ex­per­tise and soft­ware ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

In July 2016, GE launched a 4,000-square-me­ter in­dus­trial in­ter­net in­no­va­tion cen­ter known as GE Shang­hai Dig­i­tal Foundry. The cen­ter is a key part of its dig­i­tal foot­print in China.

The cen­ter aims to in­cu­bate star­tups re­lated to in­dus­trial in­ter­net, col­lab­o­rate with cus­tomers in the devel­op­ment of new ap­pli­ca­tions, and ex­pand GE’s lo­cal devel­oper and part­ner ecosys­tem in China to help them scale up quickly and en­ter new mar­kets.

So far, GE is op­er­at­ing over 10 pi­lot dig­i­tal in­dus­trial pro­grams and over 40 big data an­a­lyt­ics ap­pli­ca­tions in China.

Build­ing on the progress, GE said last Oc­to­ber that it would con­tinue to in­vest more than $20 mil­lion over the next two years to boost its tech­ni­cal and com­mer­cial ca­pa­bil­i­ties in China.

Data se­cu­rity ranks high among the con­cerns of in­dus­trial cus­tomers, whose busi­nesses are of­ten of ex­tra­or­di­nary strate­gic sig­nif­i­cance.

“GE’s clients own their fi­nal data. And it is tech­ni­cally fea­si­ble,” said Duan, adding that the is­sue was ac­tu­ally an old one, as pre­vi­ous col­lab­o­ra­tion with Chi­nese cus­tomers in hard­ware prod­ucts had touched off such de­bate and GE backed up its prom­ise with real work.

Sec­tors like power, healthcare, avi­a­tion, you name it, are all in our plan.”

Rachel Duan, pres­i­dent and CEO of GE China

Cheng Yu contributed to the story.


Rachel Duan, CEO of GE China, said China has be­come the fastest­grow­ing mar­ket for the multi­na­tional.

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