China’s auto mobility revolution: Going from ‘ownership’ to ‘usership’

Gao Feng, a business consultancy headquartered in China, has released a new paper about the revolution in auto mobility in China

China’s unique set of urban transportation challenges, very high rate of adoption of mobile internet services, and rapid and aggressive introduction of alternative mobility solutions have combined to make China a global breeding ground for mobility innovation.

The deeply-rooted automotive industry business model is experiencing disruption.

Mobility needs previously satisfied through product “ownership” are increasingly being served through mobility services “usership”, with profound implications not only for traditional players within the value chain, but also for non-traditional players – as they enter and compete to deliver services.  Continue reading China’s auto mobility revolution: Going from ‘ownership’ to ‘usership’

Big industrial robot manufacturers looking to move into China

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Picture courtesy of Dr Miha Pipan

The huge and growing demand for industrial robots in China is prompting the world’s largest industrial robot makers to look into setting up operations in the country. 

In particular, Japanese companies are said to be profiting from China’s huge increase in demand for industrial robots.

Statistics collated by the Japan Robot Association show that the country exported around $4.4 billion worth of industrial robots to China in 2016.  Continue reading Big industrial robot manufacturers looking to move into China

China’s enthusiasm for robots and electric cars creating oversupply of clean technology

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A jade-polishing robot produced by the HIT Robot Group, one of China’s largest robot makers

China’s enthusiasm for new technology, combined with its paranoia about being left behind in a globally intensifying high-tech competition, sometimes leads it to create small bubbles in its economy which may or may not dissipate in the disciplined manner in which the markets they encompass may have emerged in the first place. 

Two years ago, the government of the world’s most populous nation of 1.4 billion people launched a 10-year national plan to “transform China from a manufacturing giant into a world manufacturing power”, in the words of XinhuaNet, the state propaganda outlet.  Continue reading China’s enthusiasm for robots and electric cars creating oversupply of clean technology

Chinese robotic spacecraft completes second refuelling test, as Russia launches robotic cargo ship to International Space Station

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The Progress spacecraft

China and Russia have both launched robotic spacecraft on cargo missions recently, according to reports in the media. 

Chinese state news agency Xinhua says the Tiangong-2 space lab and Tianzhou-1 completed a second refuelling test which “cemented technical results from the first refuelling”.

According to Space.com, the refuelling procedure requires 29 steps to complete and lasts for several days.  Continue reading Chinese robotic spacecraft completes second refuelling test, as Russia launches robotic cargo ship to International Space Station

Chinese e-commerce giant starts delivering orders using robots

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One of China’s largest online shopping companies has started to deliver goods to its customers using robots, according to a report in QZ.com

The four-wheeled autonomous vehicle (pictured above) is about the size of a washing machine and was developed by Jingdong, or JD.com as it’s also known in China.

And although the robot was used for the first time earlier this week, JD’s chairman, Liu Qiangdong, says the company could completely roboticise its entire logistics process within a few years.

The company already uses small autonomous vehicles in its logistics warehouses to move goods around (pictured below).  Continue reading Chinese e-commerce giant starts delivering orders using robots

China says its Belt & Road initiative is a way out of the global economic slump

China is planning to create what looks like will be the largest, longest and most complex logistics network in history – at a cost to itself of almost $1 trillion. 

The so-called Belt & Road Initiative will virtually encircle China, most of Asia and much of Europe, and will mostly consist of interconnected roads, but will also include sea lanes and railways, and possibly some airways.

In total, it will connect approximately 60 countries, and cost anything between $4 trillion and $8 trillion. And the timescale is anyone’s guess.

The northern parts of the Belt & Road network will include the revival of the ancient Silk Road, which connected China to Persia and the Mediterranean Sea to the north, and India, Indonesia and Arabia via sea lanes to the south.  Continue reading China says its Belt & Road initiative is a way out of the global economic slump

Yaskawa invests €4 million in production facility in Sweden, and partners with Midea in Asia

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Yaskawa facility in Torsås, Sweden. Picture credit: Yaskawa via Evertiq

Yaskawa is expanding its manufacturing operation in Sweden, according to a report on Evertiq.com.

One of the world’s largest industrial robot manufacturers, Yaskawa is investing a further €4 million into the plant at Torsås, Sweden.

The work will eventually expand the facility by 2,000 sq m and is expected to be completed by summer 2018.  Continue reading Yaskawa invests €4 million in production facility in Sweden, and partners with Midea in Asia

China’s fast-growing automotive market presents opportunities for all

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China’s auto market is creating “explosive growth opportunity” for companies prepared to adapt their approach, according to a new report by Gao Feng

The report, Rising Opportunities in China’s Automotive Independent Aftermarket, was produced by Bill Russo, Jason Zhang, Jackie Tang and Peter Hu.

The authors say China’s automotive market has “entered a new phase” which brings “enormous opportunities”.  Continue reading China’s fast-growing automotive market presents opportunities for all

Chinese government’s plan to grow robotics and automation industry seems to be working

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Robot waiting staff at a restaurant in China. Picture courtesy: TheRobotReport.com

China’s plan to expand the nation’s robotics and automation industry seems to be working, according to a new survey by TheRobotReport.com

The website tracks robotics companies worldwide and editor Frank Tobe says he wrote about 194 robot companies in China in 2015, but now that number has more than doubled to greater than 500.

The Chinese government launched a “robot revolution” as part of its Made in China 2025 program a couple of years ago, partly because it has become the world’s biggest buyer of robots and would like some of those robots to be made by domestic companies.  Continue reading Chinese government’s plan to grow robotics and automation industry seems to be working

Finding a third way forward for China’s economy

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By Edward Tse, CEO of Gao Feng 

China’s fast economic growth, its gradual but consistent transition from a planned economy toward a market economy, the emergence of highly intensive competition in the open sectors, the increasing prevalence of technology and the availability of angel investing and venture capital funds all contributed to the emergence of waves of entrepreneurship and innovation in China that the country had not seen before. 

In their search for growth strategies, these Chinese entrepreneurs were typically fast and agile. Some of them developed diversified conglomerates, and there were others that decided on a narrow focus, taking the core competence approach.

The results have been mixed. Interestingly, some of them, through trial and error, discovered a third way of strategy development. We call it “multiple jumping”.  Continue reading Finding a third way forward for China’s economy

How China’s ‘copycat’ tech companies are now the ones to beat

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By Edward Tse, CEO of Gao Feng 

For a long time, Chinese companies have been known for copying market-proven products, brands and business models from the West and adapting them for the local market with only minor modifications. Such a phenomenon is known as shanzhai, a Chinese term that was originally used to describe a bandit stronghold outside government control. In today’s slang, it refers to businesses based on fake or pirated products.

Shanzhai has been prevalent in China in recent decades and this has earned China the reputation of being a “copycat nation”. Western media report that China’s preferential policies and regulations to restrict market access, such as the the “Great Firewall” in the internet industry, and the lack of intellectual property protection, give Chinese companies an unfair home advantage to create copies.

While shanzhai is common across a range of products and services, it is particularly prevalent in the internet sector. Chinese internet companies are often compared to their Western counterparts based on the similarity of their business models. For example, Baidu is known as the “Google of China”, Alibaba as the “eBay of China”, and Xiaomi as the “Apple of China”, just to name a few.  Continue reading How China’s ‘copycat’ tech companies are now the ones to beat

China must take holistic approach to future of Hong Kong

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By Edward Tse, CEO of Gao Feng 

Hong Kong’s government has a reputation for being inward-looking when it comes to formulating policies.

Prior to the 1997 handover, such an approach was acceptable and made sense, as Hong Kong was separated from mainland China.

However, interactions between the city and mainland have significantly increased since the handover.

The government must now take a more holistic approach to understanding the overall developments on the mainland and their implications for the future of Hong Kong.

A case in point is Hong Kong’s land use planning.  Continue reading China must take holistic approach to future of Hong Kong

Automate 2017 to host US-China robotics forum

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The Association for Advancing Automation (A3) has organised a joint US-China Robotics Forum to be held April 4 at the Automate 2017 Show and Conference at Chicago’s McCormick Place.

The forum will bring together A3’s Robotic Industries Association, the leading North American robotics industry trade organization, and its counterpart, the China Robot Industry Alliance.

According to the World Robotics Report 2016, published by the International Federation of Robotics, China has significantly expanded its leading position as the largest robotics market in the world purchasing 27 per cent of the total supply in 2015.  Continue reading Automate 2017 to host US-China robotics forum

HIT Robot Group to showcase products at Automate 2017 for the first time

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Hit Robot Group’s new drone. Picture: Xinhua

HIT Robot Group, which claims to be China’s leading robotics manufacturer, will make its debut appearance at Automate 2017, the largest show of robots and automation technology in North America.

The company will bring its latest smart factory model of robot and hopes Automate will provide a platform for seeking global partners.

Hosted by the Association for Advancing Automation (A3) every other year, Automate is one of the top 10 manufacturing shows in the US.

This year the event will take place at McCormick Place in Chicago from April 3rd to April 6th, and will attract big names in the automation industry like ABB, Denso and Kawasaki.  Continue reading HIT Robot Group to showcase products at Automate 2017 for the first time

MiR reports 500 per cent growth in sales of logistics robots

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Mobile Industrial Robots, a developer and manufacturer of autonomous mobile robots, claims it has seen “an astounding 500 percent growth in sales” in 2016, with over 200 MiR100 robots and accessories installed in more than 30 countries.

The company says it has an “ambitious” plan, and has recently expanded its global presence, establishing regional offices in New York and Shanghai.

With substantial increases in hiring in 2016, MiR also tripled the size of its Denmark headquarters, relocating to a new location that will support its ongoing expansion.

In 2017, the front-runner expects to further consolidate its leadership position with a new product that will be launched in Chicago on April 3, 2017 at Automate, North America’s largest automation trade show. Continue reading MiR reports 500 per cent growth in sales of logistics robots