Ambitious plan to pour massive aid into tech zone
Guarantee funds will back emerging enterprises in their quest to create innovative technologies
One of the birthplaces of China’s modern industry and commerce, Wuxi in Jiangsu province will continue to promote the development of the internet of things industry to build a globally influential national sensing innovation demonstration zone in the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20) period.
The city plans to encourage IoT application projects, accelerate industry development, attract related businesses, strengthen core technology innovations and enhance coordinated innovations between countries and regions to support national industrial upgrade in the next five years, said Huang Qin, deputy mayor of Wuxi.
“We will ensure Wuxi National Sensor Network Innovation Demonstration Zone reports significant improvement in innovation capacity, industrial scale, employee numbers and influence to achieve commercialization of some research results, attract leading IoT businesses and develop demonstration projects,” Huang said.
Wuxi obtained approval from the central government to construct the innovation demonstration zone in 2009. The central government hopes Wuxi can take a leading and exploratory role in IoT development and share its experiences with other Chinese cities.
By the end of 2015, there were 1,171 IoTrelated companies in Wuxi, an increase from 248 in 2009. Their total sales revenue grew to 168.8 billion yuan ($24.95 billion) in 2015 from 22 billion yuan in 2009, according to Huang.
Seventeen application projects in the demonstration zone covering sectors such as transport, healthcare, environmental protection and power generation are supported or funded by central government departments. Those projects will be promoted nationwide if they prove to be applicable.
Wuxi has become a gathering place for IoT organizations and professionals, with 53 public service platforms for IoT businesses and 40 research and development centers in service in the city.
More than 2,500 high-caliber professionals, including 66 members listed in the national One Thousand Talent Plan, work in Wuxi.
Support for manufacturing
Gao Yaguang, director of Wuxi Commission of Economy and Information Technology, said that the benefits the IoT industry brings to Wuxi reach far beyond the business sphere.
“I think the most significant benefit is that it inspires many traditional businesses and helps to change the thinking of traditional manufacturers,” Gao said.
“Manufacturers always consider high-quality products as valuable. Actually, production data are more precious. Machines can be used to create value but information processing and application can also create value.”
A growing number of manufacturers in Wuxi are engaged in developing IoT technologies or are using them to increase operational efficiency.
Envision Energy, a wind turbine technologies developer in China, plans to explore opportunities in the energy asset management sector with the support of IoT.
Hailan Home, a menswear designer and producer established in Wuxi in 1988, has been implementing radio frequency identification technology to upgrade its supply chain system in recent years. The RFID technology enables Hailan’s employees in the warehouse to scan and record information about 300 clothing items in eight seconds.
“We had to scan clothes manually one by one in previous years,” said Liu Tong, who is in charge of RFID equipment at Hailan. “The technology helps us to scan clothes packed in boxes. We can check the number of products and know exactly what types of clothes are in the box.”
Wuxi plans to provide more support to IoT companies in coming years.