A big data center was announced on Wednesday which will be established in the Western Cloud Base in Zhongwei, in Northwest China's Ningxia Hui autonomous region, as the city steps up efforts to further develop its cloud computing industry.
The center, called the People (Zhongwei) Big Data Center, is the 15th data center to enter the cloud base.
Jointly launched by People.cn Co Ltd, the online portal of the People's Daily, and the government of Zhongwei during the 2019 Cloud Computing International Summit, the center aims at enhancing cooperation in cloud computing and big data, taking advantage of the Belt and Road Initiative to build the online Silk Road, and promoting the industrial transformation and high-quality development of Zhongwei.
An adaptation center developed by Shandong-based cloud computing solution and service provider Inspur Group was also launched in the summit. Its goal is to realize the development of information security in the cloud base, and promote the development of information security in Zhongwei.
"China's cloud computing industry has been burgeoning in the past few years, maintaining a 30 percent average annual growth rate. Ningxia, as an important node of the Silk Road Economic Belt, has an obvious regional advantage of developing cloud computing and bid data," Sui Jing, deputy director of the information communication administration of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said.
Li Xiaobo, mayor of Zhongwei, said that "with the city's geology, climate and energy advantages, in recent years, Zhongwei has been taking active measures to build its Western Cloud Base into one of the country's major agglomeration areas for a data center. The measures include improving supporting infrastructure, implementing green projects, and accelerating major data center construction."
According to Li, there were 200,000 servers in the cloud base at this time, and the accumulated investment into fixed assets totaled 6.47 billion yuan ($911.8 million).
The added-value of the information transmission, computer services and software industry in the base surged by 31.8 percent year-on-year, contributing to 14.4 percent of the area's gross domestic product. The cloud computing industrial chain led in the investment of more than 3 billion yuan, and generated jobs for 3,000 people.
"The city serves as a great example of transforming the sands of the Gobi into a hot land for innovative development," Li said.
Ma Li, president of the China Internet Development Foundation, noted that with the rapid development of China's internet industry, Zhongwei tapped into its unique inborn advantages to build the Western Cloud Base, using the cloud computing industry to drive the city's information transmission and computer service software industry.
The Chinese government has attached great importance to the application and exploration of big data, and the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20) had promoted big data development into a national strategy.
"Guided by the application of smart city and the development of the cloud computing industry, in the future, Zhongwei will continue to integrate information resources, improve the level of infrastructure digitization, and accelerate the construction of the Western Cloud Base to build Zhongwei into a well-managed, harmonious and industrially synergistic city," said Cui Kun, vice-mayor of Zhongwei.
The size of China's cloud computing industry is expected to exceed 300 billion yuan ($42 billion) in 2023, according to a white paper released by the Institute of International Technology and Economy (IITE).
The document predicts that China's enterprise and government cloud adoption rate will be over 60 percent with its growing demand in digital and intelligence transformation.
Currently, main users of cloud computing services in China are in fields of Internet, transportation, logistics, finance and telecommunications, the white paper said.
Last year, China's cloud computing sector scaled at 96.28 billion yuan, only around 8 percent of that in the United States, data from the paper showed.
The IITE, founded in 1985, is a non-profit research organization affiliated to the Development Research Center of China's State Council, tracking and analyzing trends in world scientific, technological and economic development.
China's industrial internet will be able to seek even faster growth with the commercialization and prevalence of 5G, experts said.
During the news conference of the State Council, China's Cabinet, on Sept 20, Miao Wei, minister of industry and information technology, said that up to 80 percent of the application scenarios at the stage of 5G connection will be found in industrial internet.
As the Swedish telecommunication giant Ericsson believes, wireless factories and flexible manufacturing will make the future of production scenario.
So, at the 2019 World Internet of Things Expo held in Wuxi, Jiangsu province, in early September, Ericsson showcased its industrial internet applications under the 5G internet environment, including the wireless connection of industrial sensors and real-time data transmission.
Meanwhile, Ericsson has also connected each of its production sections to the same internet environment. With the help of 5G, different mechanical arms can sort, deliver and pile up parts automatically without human intervention, which will largely enhance efficiency.
On the other hand, the real-time communication management system can detect the failure on the assembly line and report it to the manager in visualized form.
In this way, problems will be addressed in shorter time.
"The industrial internet will be one of the most important application scenarios for the 5G network. The prevalence of 5G, which enjoys the advantage of high speed, low latency and wider connectivity, lays the groundwork for wireless factories and make automatic production possible," said Kimm Diao, head of brand and marketing at Ericsson Market Area Northeast Asia.
Domestic IT service provider Pactera Technology also showcased its attempts in the industrial internet sector with three one-stop solutions. Mainly targeting electronics and cable manufacturers for the time being, the industrial internet platforms developed by Pactera focus on collecting data and translating it into applications in technology, production and management.
According to Xia Jing, head of Pactera's IoT business, more and more companies have come to realize that the basic technology of sensors is indeed the core of the internet of things, for the prerequisite of intelligent production is the access to data. With this, the industrial internet, and IoT industry in general, will seek sustained growth in China, he said.
Han Platform, the industrial internet platform developed by Xuzhou-based XCGM Information Technology, also attended the WIoT Expo to demonstrate its one-stop solutions designed for 63 industries, covering manufacturing, textile and alternative energy. By integrating data analysis, device connection and application, Han Platform can help the company to build its internal production system and coordinate different management departments.
But Zhang Qiliang, chief executive officer of Han Platform, said that it is now crucial to build an ecosystem for industrial internet so that industrial agreements can be exchanged.
"One big challenge in industrial internet is the connection of different devices. It is also no easy job to develop an industrial application that can easily attract clients. How to explore the value of data while making sure the security of the platforms is also a difficult task. None of these can be addressed by one company. An ecosystem is thus indispensable," he said.
China's smartphone shipments fell 5.7 percent year-on-year in September to 34.7 million units, according to data from the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT).
Last month, smartphones made up 95.7 percent of all mobile phone shipments in the country, said a report from the CAICT, a research institute under the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
Overall mobile phone shipments declined 7.1 percent year-on-year to 36.2 million units, but jumped 17.4 percent month-on-month.
In the first nine months of this year, China's smartphone shipments slipped 4.2 percent from a year earlier to 275 million units, according to the report.
Tailor-less custom-made suits, wines from drone-plucked grapes ... 5G gives IoT teeth
For the first time in her life, Louisa Traore, 29, a private school English-language teacher from Pretoria, South Africa, tried to get a suit custom made. What encouraged her was her presence in Wuxi, Jiangsu province, in East China, and the idea that she can get a suit made without the help of dressmakers.
All she needed to do was stand in an intelligent, sensor-rich, 5G-enabled fitting room. Measurements like that of her waist, wrist circumference and height were taken automatically, without any physical contact, using optical high-tech. The data was then transferred electronically to robot-couturiers back in the factory.
A mightily impressed Traore said: "I can't help but feel all this is like a fairytale. The smart fitting room is like a fairy stick－it has revolutionized tailoring procedure, which used to involve a sales assistant, tailors, factory workers. Now, all their time-intensive tasks can be finished by machines within minutes."
Tech industry insiders said life-enhancing developments are coming to China on the back of innovations in 5G, internet of things or IoT, big data, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, augmented reality and the like.
More specifically, the integration of IoT and 5G is promising to spawn a plethora of lifestyle-transforming applications across several industries. IoT refers to the internet-linked network of smartphones, wearables, industrial machines, kitchen appliances and similar devices.
Liu Duo, president of the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, a government-backed research institute, said the advancement of 5G has greatly boosted applications for the IoT in the country.
"In the 5G era, IoT will be dominant. It has made the 'internet of everything' a reality," Liu said at the World IoT Expo 2019 which ended last month in Wuxi.
Just a few years ago, IoT was no more than a mere concept. Since the beginning of this year, however, it has become a mainstream technology, and sped up applications in a wide range of industries, not just in fashion but even in manufacturing, agriculture and healthcare.
For instance, at an intelligent warehouse of menswear major HLA, staff no longer take much time to find the needed garments from a mountain of piled-up clothes. The 5G-enabled IoT dispatches smart robots to identify and clutch the needed, e-tagged garments.
Such innovative applications are also smartening work at vineyards in Wuxi. Farmers no longer need to pluck the grapes. Using a smartphone, they can remote-control unmanned aerial vehicles (or drones) to do their job.
"Such applications have widened mainly due to 5G as it has higher bandwidth and lower latency. 5G can transmit a vast amount of IoT-generated data to users in a jiffy," said Wei Chenguang, deputy president of the China Mobile Research Institute.
In addition, 5G is driving the integration of artificial intelligence, cloud computing and big data toward becoming reality sooner than later, Wei said.
Experts said the past several decades have witnessed the rapid development of IoT in China. A report from the China Economic Information Service said the country's IoT industry reached a market value of 1.2 trillion yuan ($168 billion) last year. And income from services offered by the IoT industry was up 72.9 percent year-on-year (but specific figures were not available).
Charlies Dai, a principal analyst at Forrester, a business strategy and economic consultancy, said favorable government policies and increasingly fierce market competition are driving IoT's evolution in the country.
"The Chinese government has unveiled a string of strategic IoT initiatives for the nation's digital transformation. IoT was also included in its 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20), which will steer China's economic and social development between 2016 and 2020," Dai said.
Such efforts will put China in the driver's seat with respect to the adoption and use of IoT technology, he said. By 2022, China is expected to spend $300 billion annually on IoT and surpass the United States as the world's largest IoT market, said a report from market consultancy IDC.
Last month, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology unveiled a guideline, which urged efforts to accelerate the IoT development and deepen the integration of informatization with industrialization.
"China is opening a new window on the development of large-scale IoT and also creating an opportune period for related parties to map out and gain a lead in the field," said Wang Zhijun, vice-minister of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
Wang said the ministry will ramp up efforts in nurturing sectors such as the industrial internet and will help link needs with the demand to drive commercialization of IoT.