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GMIS Connect highlights industrial lighthouses that are propelling digital transformation in China

Ahead of the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit (GMIS) 2023, UNIDO ITPO Shanghai, in collaboration with the Chinese Federation of Industrial Economics (CFIE) and GMIS, hosted a webinar on “Lessons from the Lighthouses: How is China’s Digital Revolution Impacting Industrial Development?”.

The webinar highlighted the success of Chinese companies in deploying advanced manufacturing at scale, generating new value and customer experiences within the factory or across value chains. These industrial lighthouses are showing the way for the digital transformation in China.

Bernardo Calzadilla-Sarmiento, Director of the Division of Fair Production, Sustainability Standards and Trade, opened the session, noting that while industrial lighthouses provide much needed productivity benefits and added value, “…the full benefit of the Fourth Industrial Revolution in manufacturing can only be realized if complete value chains and production ecosystems are transformed . He stressed, “SMEs in developing countries face distinct challenges related to low technological levels, a lack of skilled workforce, and weak access to modern technology and affordable ICT infrastructure, including the latest communication standards like 5G. The situation is even more complex for women-owned firms, as they often have limited access to financial resources and technical support for digital transformation.”

Xiong Meng, Executive Vice Chairman and Secretary General, CFIE noted that in China, advanced technology had “greatly enhanced the stability and modernity of [the] industrial supply chain”.

Namir Hourani, Managing Director, GMIS, observed that the adoption of digital innovations had “quickly transformed China into one of the largest digital economies and e-commerce markets”.

The panel discussion moderated by Xiaolei Zhao, Head, UNIDO ITPO Shanghai noted UNIDO’s commitment to assisting industry with digital transformation from the perspectives of sustainable development and international standards.  UNIDO has the expertise to deliver the necessary tools to support this endeavour.  With China contributing one-third of the 103 industrial lighthouses globally, the panel featured disruptive manufacturers, Hao Jingxian, General Manager of SAIC Maxus Automobile Company; Huang Luchuan, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer, ROOTCLOUD Technology Company; and Zhou Xiaoxun, Executive Vice President, Siemens China.

Drawing on the experiences of the respective speakers in building lighthouse factories within the Chinese industrial ecosystem, the panel shared their solutions. Speakers stressed a number of important elements for a successful transition to lighthouse production. This included a systematized and standardized approach to construction and the need to focus on the entire value chain, going beyond the factory floor. Flexibility of digital tools used in the supply chain was also highlighted. The need for people-centric digitalization and the integration of sustainability goals in the system were also raised as important elements.

The webinar is the first of a series of digital and in-person expert roadshows, leading to the GMIS 2023 Summit. It can be viewed following registration at the following link: https://gmisummit.com/registration

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