Source: China Daily
Digitalization improving operational efficiency, upgrading services and reshaping industry development models
China's civil aviation industry is accelerating its advance into the digital era.
Already this year, China Southern Airlines has started online seat selection services for all domestic flights, as well as paperless e-boarding passes. As well as offering more convenience for passengers, the move is also a response to environmentally friendly travel initiatives.
In the first week after the services were offered, about 75 percent of passengers on its domestic routes opted to select their seats via digital devices, said China Southern.
Based in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, China Southern operates the largest fleet in Asia and the third-largest worldwide. In 2018, it recorded 139 million passenger journeys.
China Southern e-Travel, its mobile app, is part of the airline's digital strategy, which combines mobile internet functionality with all its services, consolidating resources for air travel and tourism, and offering one-stop shopping and door-to-door services for customers.
Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon have also had paperless services on their 15 daily flights between Shanghai and Hong Kong since Oct 29, 2018. Passengers can enjoy easier and more flexible digital services including booking, paying, check-in and boarding.
"The global aviation industry is at a crucial point. It is transitioning from an increment-driven market to one in which greater value and opportunities are being extracted from the existing market. And digitalization presents a crucial opportunity for China," said Yu Zhanfu, partner and vice-president for China at consultancy Roland Berger.
Rising cost pressures and safety concerns are affecting the aviation industry worldwide. Digitalization is seen as key to improving operational efficiency, upgrading services, and reshaping development models, Yu said.
"It is widely recognized that digitalization is a new value-growth point. Alongside dramatic growth in China's civil aviation sector, the authorities, domestic aviation manufacturers and technological giants are all eyeing digitalization," said Xu Jun, vice-president of Asia-Pacific original equipment manufacturers at Honeywell Aerospace.
In January 2018, the Civil Aviation Administration of China issued its assessment guidelines on personal electronic devices. It was seen as an impetus to reshape the cabin experience with in-flight internet.
Since then, domestic airlines have been relaxing their restrictions on in-flight mobile device usage and major domestic aviation manufacturers have been embracing the digital era.
At the 2018 China Airshow, Hainan Airlines announced a partnership with Honeywell that would see Honeywell's supply auxiliary power units and aftermarket support to the airline's fleet, including its GoDirect connected maintenance services, a predictive technology based primarily on data.
The aviation industry has an extremely long value chain covering research, development, operation and maintenance, each of which has significant added value and constantly generates enormous amounts of data, according to Xu.
Digitalization is inevitable for aircraft manufacturers and systems vendors, Xu said. In the design phase, digital systems and methods are increasingly applied, significantly enhancing the efficiency of design, research, development and testing while reducing costs.
Source: China Daily
Investors in the tech sector believe that a fundamental change in their business is coming in the next five years as an array of new technologies become commercially viable simultaneously. And, they argue that the Chinese tech market ecosystem is in a unique position to build products, companies and business models using these new technologies.
"What is happening right now is that there are a few major disruptive technologies - artificial intelligence, 5G, the internet of things, and blockchain distributed ledgers - all happening at the same time over the next few years. Each on its own is a major disruption, but together they are a major, major, mega disruption. I think the Chinese are the most ready of all countries or all peoples in the world to embrace them and turn them into commercial applications," said Edward Tse, founder and CEO of Gaofeng Advisory, who formerly led the China operations of the large US-based corporate strategy advisories Boston Consulting and Booz-Allen-Hamilton.
Competitiveness in the Chinese tech industry
The extreme competitiveness of the Chinese tech sector is a key factor in its rapid development. Richard Robinson, founding partner of the venture capital firm nHack, who has worked in the Chinese tech sector since 1996, says: "Chinese tech is a gladiatorial ecosystem. Many other startup ecosystems are like the Galapagos - all the animals are just hopping around in the open because they have no predators. Here in China, it is Jurassic Park - not only must I win, but you must die."
The so-called "China speed" is real both quantitatively and qualitatively, he says. "For example, a European company said they would batch all their software bugs and fix them once a week. They were pushing extra hard for the China market since they ordinarily fix them only with a new build, every 6-8 weeks. But, Chinese software companies eat bugs for breakfast - they fix them in 10 minutes, or at least the same day."
The US market has become more oligopolistic, controlled by a few big firms. According to the advertising research firm WARC, Facebook and Google together receive 61 percent of the world online ad revenue and grabbed more than 90 percent of the revenue growth in 2017, making it very difficult for new startups.
Another key factor going forward for China's tech sector is the "Shenzhen effect" - manufacturing clusters with deep networks, experience, expertise and easy supplier availability not available anywhere else will allow Chinese companies to integrate hardware in software. "5G is another step function. There is going to be stuff that we can't even imagine that is going to be built in Shenzhen because of the proximity of all those people together," Robinson said.
An integrated ecosystem
Experts also see Chinese government investment in infrastructure and R&D as critical for the implementing the coming tech opportunities. Adair Turner, chairman of the Institute for New Economic Thinking, a New York-based thinktank supported by George Soros, says: "China has what I think is a sweet spot combination of state support but flourishing private enterprise. It is important to maintain that combination."
"China is driving developments in battery technology. It has driven the developments in solar PV. In a whole load of ways it is getting on with things that are going to be central to the future technology of the world. They put together private entrepreneurship, a high savings rate, a state that is willing to invest in infrastructure," he explained.
Turner was earlier chairman of the UK Financial Services Authority and director-general of the Confederation of British Industry.
"Yes, some of the money is wasted, but some of the high-speed rail and urban development projects create efficient structures to support industry. Excellent universities are in many ways at the cutting edge of technology. This will continue to drive the medium-term success of the Chinese economy even if legitimately and necessarily China steps back from some of the more contentious ways it has been trying to drive development that has upset the Americans," he adds.
Source: China Daily
China is expected to generate 48.6 zettabytes (48.6 trillion gigabytes) of data in 2025, while the number for the US is forecast to be 30.6ZB, according to a study by the International Data Corporation (IDC) and data storage firm Seagate, a CNBC report said.
In addition, the global total amount of new data generated is set to grow from 33ZB in 2018 to 175ZB by 2025, with data collected from entertainment platforms, video surveillance footage, internet-connected devices, productivity tools and metadata contributing to most of the growth, according to the report.
In the race for data, which, as IDC analysts put in their report, is "at the heart of this digital world" and "a company's most valuable intangible asset, which can create a competitive edge in digital transformation", there is already a victory sign coming from China.
The country generated about 7.6ZB data last year, around 0.7ZB more than the US, the report said.
In addition, it said data created and replicated in China is expected to outpace the global average by 3 percent annually.
Chinese tech companies, such as Alibaba Group and Tencent Holdings Ltd, have set an example in using data to improve customer service in the financial sector.
The report said Chinese digital payment platforms Alipay and WeChat Pay are able to provide personalized financial services tailored to customers' specific behaviors and preferences with the help of massive user data.
The report also mentioned the use of personal information has raised concerns as data may be utilized to build behaving or responding models of users that can be taken advantage of by advertisers or for other purposes.
While people are still indulging in the holiday atmosphere, some robots have already started to work. Their dedication and devotion are worthy of our respect. Let's see some robots in action, helping to make people's lives better.
A cleaning robot equipped with a monitor works at the waiting hall during the Spring Festival travel rush at a railway station in Harbin city, Northeast China's Heilongjiang province, on Jan 21, 2019.
An intelligent robot named Big Blue that has been drafted into service is displayed at a police station in Fengtai district, Beijing, on Nov 29, 2018
The 19-fingered robot Teotronico, dubbed the world's fastest piano player, is unveiled in Imola, Italy, on Oct 19, 2011.
Source: China Daily
China is racing to the forefront of the global artificial intelligence sector, with six domestic companies earning their place on a recent list of the top 100 AI startups in the world.
Released by venture capital database CB Insights, the list includes 23 startups headquartered outside the United States, including six each from China, Israel and the United Kingdom.
Chinese companies SenseTime, YITU Technology, 4Paradigm, Face++, Momenta and Horizon Robotics made it onto the list.
CB Insights reported Chinese startups SenseTime and Face++, which focus on facial recognition technologies, are the best-funded companies, followed by California-based tech company Zymergen.
A total of 11 startups on the list are unicorns, startups valued at more than $1 billion, among which five are from China. SenseTime gained the top spot among those 11 with a maximum valuation of $4.5 billion.
With the blossoming of big data, cloud computing and internet technologies, AI has become a new focus of international competition.
In recent years, the world's major economies have taken AI as a key strategy to boost economic development and national competitiveness.
China has been positioning itself as a key competitor in the global AI sector.
"The opportunity for AI in China is on a scale that demonstrates the transformative impact that the technology can have on society. It will also mean a ripple effect on the global economy in terms of accelerating innovation, integration and efficiencies that pass through the supply chain globally," said Anand Rao, global AI Leader at PwC.
Stanford University's AI Index 2018 Annual Report found that 83 percent of 2017 AI industry reports on Scopus' citation database originated from outside the US. Some 25 percent of these papers originated in China, behind only Europe with 28 percent.
The number of AI papers published in China grew 150 percent between 2007 and 2017, the report noted.
The China AI Development Report 2018, released by the China Institute for Science and Technology Policy at Tsinghua University, highlighted the vast potential of the AI sector in China, saying the country's AI market surged by 67 percent year-on-year to hit 23.7 billion yuan ($3.5 billion) in 2017. It found the top three segments were computer vision, and voice and natural language processing.
China has become the biggest owner of AI patents, followed closely by the US and Japan, the report revealed. The three countries own 74 percent of all issued AI patents globally.
The CISTP report noted that while China has the world's secondlargest AI talent pool, it has a lower percentage of top talents.
By the end of 2017, China had amassed more than 18,000 AI specialists, behind only the US. But, China had only 977 top-tier AI specialists, just one-fifth of the number in the US, ranking sixth globally.
"China's strengths are mainly shown in AI applications and it is still weak on the front of core technologies of AI, such as hardware and algorithm development," the report noted. "China's AI development lacks top-tier talent and has a significant gap with developed countries, especially the US, in this regard."