China's State Council, or cabinet, believes that the Internet will be the key driver of the country's manufacturing sector in the coming years, announcing a series of initiatives to ensure information technology is widely applied in the industry.
As Shanghai's China Business News reports, analysts believe greater implementation of the Internet will help boost businesses' efficiency by 20%, thus cutting costs by the same amount, as well as reducing carbon emissions by 10%.
China's economy will profit to the tune of 3 trillion yuan (US$480 billion) in growth in the next 20 years as a result of the development of 'Internet for Industry', according to estimations.
The State Council's initiatives will focus on ten key areas: internet technology, high-end digital machine tools and robots, astronautical equipment, marine engineering equipment and advanced shipping, advanced rail systems and other transportation facilities, energy-saving cars or vehicles powered by alternative energies, electrical equipment, bio-medicine and advanced medical equipment, and agricultural machinery.
For many businesses, however, it will prove to be a continuation of the practices they have adopted over the last decade. Haier Group, a Chinese multinational consumer electronics and home appliances manufacturer, told the paper that it's already using the power of the Internet to mass-produce customized products to better serve customers.
It is now seeking to explore technology that can link customers to robots on the assembly line, for instance—a process that sees the customer able send an image via the Internet to a robot in one of its factories, which would then carry out the printing of said image.
The initiatives are likely to be deemed very timely given that the value of Chinese products is on the decline, with counterfeits and poorly-made goods said to be dragging the market down.