Tech­nol­ogy brings in­dus­trial mir­a­cles into the mar­ket

China Daily (USA) - - FOCUS | BUSINESS - By ZHUAN TI and ZHOU LIHUA As the Chi­nese econ­omy en­ters the new nor­mal with its growth rate slow­ing, in­no­va­tion has been placed at a core po­si­tion in China’s over­all de­vel­op­ment strat­egy. China Daily re­cently in­ter­viewed peo­ple in­volved with a lead­ing S

In the laser lab of HGTECH, a Wuhan­based in­dus­trial tech­nol­ogy en­ter­prise, a dense beam of laser light hit a tiny tar­get un­der the gen­er­a­tor, leav­ing a barely vis­i­ble mark.

The tech­ni­cians in the laser lab re­peat the same tests hun­dreds, even thou­sands of times ev­ery day.

Most peo­ple may not be aware of the pur­pose be­hind the dense pur­ple laser light, but for the re­searchers and en­gi­neers in HGTECH, therein lies the key to end­ing the tech­nol­ogy mo­nop­oly game.

“In the au­to­mo­tive as­sem­bly line, laser weld­ing and sol­der­ing is a very cru­cial part, and the tech­nol­ogy used to be mo­nop­o­lized by es­tab­lished com­pa­nies such as ABB of Swe­den and KUKA of Italy,” said HGTECH’s vice-chair­man, pro­fes­sor Deng Ji­ake.

“The Chi­nese pro­duc­tion in­dus­try had to rely heav­ily on the tech­nol­ogy and equip­ment from other coun­tries, in­creas­ing cost. It was hard to break through the tech­nol­ogy mo­nop­oly.”

Laser man­u­fac­tur­ing is one of the sig­na­ture ar­eas of Op­tics Val­ley in Wuhan, and has been at the helm of the en­tire in­dus­try in China. Since 2001, Chi­nese laser man­u­fac­tur­ers have ded­i­cated them­selves to de­vel­op­ing their own laser weld­ing tech­nol­ogy, ac­cord­ing to Deng.

“We started our re­search on laser man­u­fac­tur­ing more than a decade ago. From 2001 to 2015, the project has been fo­cused on map­ping the en­tire in­dus­try,” said Deng.

“We hired many ex­perts from aboard and in­vested heav­ily in laser gen­er­a­tors, key tech­nol­ogy that has been traditionally held by other coun­tries.”

Honda Guangzhou was the first to adopt the made-in-China laser weld­ing tech­nol­ogy for their au­to­mo­bile as­sem­bly line. More au­to­mo­bile com­pa­nies such as GM, JAC and JMC later ac­cepted of­fers from HGTECH.

Forty years’ mo­nop­oly on au­to­mo­bile laser weld­ing has been put to an end, fur­ther con­sol­i­dat­ing HGTECH’s lead­ing role in the in­dus­try.

But the am­bi­tion of HGTECH is not sim­ply to com­mer­cial­ize their tech­nol­ogy and be­come a man­u­fac­turer of such equip­ment.

HGTECH is ex­pand­ing their busi­ness to ev­ery link of the in­dus­try, from de­sign to pro­duc­tion to com­mu­ni­ca­tion and lo­gis­tics.

Ef­fi­cient com­mer­cial­iza­tion is the rea­son be­hind HGTECH’s suc­cess and the as­ton­ish­ing rise of Op­tics Val­ley’s rev­enue.

Sta­tis­tics show the to­tal rev­enue reached 120 mil­lion yuan in 2016, 20 per­cent more than 2015.

It is ex­pected to ex­ceed 300 mil­lion yuan ($43.6 mil­lion) by the end of 2020.

Many high-tech star­tups in dif­fer­ent ar­eas have suc­cess­fully made their in­ven­tions into prod­ucts like HGTECH’s.

An­other ex­am­ple is Hong­shi Tech­nol­ogy Co. Peo­ple at the com­pany be­lieve that the fu­ture of se­cu­rity sys­tems is iris recog­ni­tion tech­nol­ogy.

Hong­shi is the first Chi­nese com­pany to suc­cess­fully ap­ply such tech­nol­ogy to lock pro­duc­tion.

“Sur­veil­lance cam­eras nowa­days use fa­cial recog­ni­tion, and 80 per­cent of the alarms they set off are false be­cause of the low accuracy.

“But the chance of false alarm can be re­duced to one in 10 mil­lion,” said Yi Kai­jun, chair­man of Hong­shi Tech­nol­ogy Co.

Yi be­lieves Hong­shi’s prod­ucts have great mar­ket po­ten­tial and could be ap­plied to a wide range of sit­u­a­tions that re­quire higher se­cu­rity lev­els and bet­ter sur­veil­lance sys­tems than face or fin­ger­print recog­ni­tion, such as public trans­port, po­lice sys­tems and prison mon­i­tor­ing.

“Tech­nol­ogy, no mat­ter how ad­vanced it is, does not mean any­thing to your clients, but your prod­ucts do. We tar­get the de­mands of the mar­ket, and we think our prod­ucts could be the new so­lu­tion for public safety.”

While do­ing his PhD in the US, Yi was im­pressed by the speed of the com­mer­cial­iza­tion of new tech­nol­ogy.

He started to look for a project with high mar­ket po­ten­tial, and he de­cided to pur­sue iris recog­ni­tion tech­nol­ogy in 2011.

At­tracted by the ben­e­fi­cial poli­cies of­fered by Op­tics Val­ley, Yi started his com­pany at the end of 2011. Af­ter the first gen­er­a­tion of prod­ucts was put into the do­mes­tic mar­ket, sales reached 10 mil­lion yuan. Yi has yet an even more am­bi­tious vi­sion to ex­pand the mar­ket.

“We brought our sam­ple to Sin­ga­pore and peo­ple loved it. Now we are plan­ning to open our sub-branch in Sin­ga­pore,” Yi said.

PHOTOSPHOTOS BY BY ZHANG ZHANG WEI / CHINA DAILY

Tech­ni­cians ex­am­ine fa­cil­i­ties at Hong­shi Tech­nol­ogy Co, a high-end en­ter­prise in Wuhan’s Op­tics Val­ley.

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