China News Service, Shanghai, February 19th: Question: To accelerate the digital transformation of manufacturing industry, what can China learn from the world?

  ——Exclusive interview with Liu Junmei, Vice Dean of School of Economics, Fudan University

  China News Service reporter Chen Jingwen Longjie

  As a new economic format, the digital economy has been widely recognized and has appeared in the top-level national strategic designs of many countries. From 5G and artificial intelligence to industrial software and smart manufacturing, from digital factories and black light factories to future factories and smart factories, countries have carried out top-level designs and strategic layouts for manufacturing digitalization, seeking to occupy the commanding heights in the new world economic landscape.

  China's economy has shifted from a stage of rapid growth to a stage of high-quality development, and the digital transformation of the manufacturing industry is of great significance. What are the similarities and differences between the digital transformation of Chinese and foreign manufacturing industries, and what are the advantages of each? China News Service's "East-West Question" recently conducted an exclusive interview with Liu Junmei, deputy dean of the School of Economics at Fudan University.

The interview transcript is summarized as follows:

Reporter from China News Service: In the era of Industry 4.0 and smart manufacturing, how does China compare with the traditional industrial powers? What are its "long board" and "short board"?

Liu Junmei:

In the past 30 years of development, China has rapidly narrowed the gap with traditional industrial powers. The manufacturing industry and its digital transformation have formed unique characteristics and advantages, and have many "long boards." China's manufacturing industry is large-scale and has the most complete system, so it is more dynamic; China's 5G technology is at the world's leading level, with about 70% of the world's built 5G base stations, 5G networks covering all parts of the country, and the rapidly declining price of 5G modules , will boost the promotion and application of 5G technology in the manufacturing industry; China is leading the pioneering application of new technologies, new business formats, and new models. China has also invested more in this area than other countries, which has a great impact on the digital transformation of the manufacturing industry. the driving force. In addition, the potential market for digital transformation in the manufacturing industry is large: currently, the digital investment ratio of Chinese enterprises above designated size is 0.5%-1%, while the proportion of European and American enterprises is 3%-5%. If the digital investment of Chinese enterprises continues to increase, To the level of European and American companies, combined with manufacturing output, China's potential market will be huge.

On April 26, 2023, staff installed 5G equipment in Xianju County, Taizhou City, Zhejiang Province. Photo by Chen Yueming

  Of course, there are still many "shortcomings" in the digital transformation of China's manufacturing industry, including: the overall technological level of the industry is relatively backward, and the dependence on foreign countries such as core basic components, key basic materials and basic technologies still needs to be reduced; China's Internet penetration rate Although it has reached 76.4%, the Internet penetration rate in the United States, Germany, and Japan is all around 90%; in terms of new digital infrastructure, in addition to 5G-related technologies, China’s technical level needs to be improved in many other fields; currently, the global Most of the ultra-large-scale data centers are located in the United States, and domestic software lacks competitiveness; the penetration rate of industrial digitalization is not high; in terms of supporting services for digital transformation, China needs a flourishing digital solution provider to provide corresponding services.

China News Service reporter: In the face of the fourth industrial revolution, what is the overall trend of traditional industrial powers in terms of digital transformation strategies in manufacturing? What are the characteristics of each?

Liu Junmei:

In the face of the fourth industrial revolution, traditional industrial powers have put forward different concepts and plans for the digitalization of manufacturing based on their own development advantages.

  The main task of the U.S. strategy is to revitalize manufacturing, attract manufacturing to return to the United States, and increase its share of global advanced manufacturing products. Its "re-industrialization" uses digital technology and information technology to develop advanced manufacturing, focusing on robotics and biotechnology. and other advanced manufacturing fields, while focusing on improving technological innovation capabilities and achievement transformation capabilities; Germany's strategy aims to strengthen the leading position of "Made in Germany" and hopes to compete in the formulation of new standards and promote "German standards"; Japan's strategy is to build The new digital society focuses on the development of new technologies such as robots, realizing "industrial interconnection" and "interconnected manufacturing", and promoting technological innovation in the intelligent manufacturing industry; Singapore increases investment in new "artificial intelligence" industries and technologies to create a world research center; South Korea The construction focus will be on "smart factories".

Intelligent robots communicate with attendees at the 2024 U.S. Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Photo by Zhang Shuo

  The differences between China and developed countries in the digital transformation of the manufacturing industry are reflected in the different development paths, different priorities, and different attention to small and medium-sized enterprises. China's development path is that digitalization precedes automation; the focus is on developing emerging industries while taking the integration of informatization and informatization as the main line to promote "make-up lessons" in automation and informatization for traditional industries.

China News Service reporter: In the global competitive environment, what challenges have different Chinese companies encountered in digital transformation?

Liu Junmei:

In digital transformation, different companies in China face different challenges: large companies are more inclined to make standardized products, while personalized products are more suitable for small companies and small teams to implement. The main force of China's manufacturing industry is a large number of small and medium-sized enterprises. Small and medium-sized enterprises in the traditional manufacturing industry have long adopted traditional management models and production methods. They have many problems in understanding transformation methodology and transformation cases, that is, what to do and how to do it. Therefore, when small and medium-sized enterprises carry out digital transformation, they often have the problem of "not wanting to switch" and "not being able to switch". Many small and medium-sized enterprises have not yet completed their automation transformation, and financial constraints have limited their ability to trial and error, resulting in "dare not switch". Small and medium-sized enterprises also have talent problems. They usually need professional teams to help implement transformation plans and paths. Even if they hire external teams to help enterprises carry out digital transformation, they lack relevant internal talent to understand and implement plans, which can easily lead to unsatisfactory transformation results. Or even fail.

China News Service reporter: In terms of industrial software, what is China's competitive strength? In the digital age, how can we learn from the practices and experiences of Western developed countries?

Liu Junmei:

Industrial software is the brain and nerve of the manufacturing industry. The gap between China's scientific industrial software and the international level is the largest, followed by engineering software, and the smallest gap is between management software. However, the level of China's domestic industrial software does not lag behind the international level in an all-round way. Instead, it shows differentiation and is even ahead of the international level in terms of management software.

  In terms of core engines and scientific software, China is still lagging behind. At present, most software in China is based on open source data from the United States, which means that we have not yet established a complete software system. In order to solve these problems, China has increased its efforts in software technology research and development and innovation, and has achieved phased results. For example, in the fields of industrial software such as CAD, ERP, FP, SCM, and PLC, the localization rate is already high, and domestic ERP software accounts for nearly 90% of the market share; at the same time, a large number of system solution providers have emerged, including There are more than 40 system solution providers with main business revenue exceeding 1 billion yuan (RMB).

  What needs special attention is the lack of sufficient application scenarios for China’s domestic industrial software. Faced with the technical advantages and market monopoly of developed countries such as Europe and the United States in the software field, we need to release some suitable application scenarios for domestic intelligent equipment so that domestic software has the opportunity to be verified by trial and error.

  In the wave of digital transformation, the first thing that China's manufacturing digital transformation development must solve is the problem of "weak foundation". In this regard, we can learn from the experience of German platform construction, strengthen cooperation with Germany in this aspect, and promote the maturity and improvement of related platform systems such as the two integration platforms, industrial Internet network innovation laboratories, and industrial Internet manufacturing safety integrated test beds. The digital transformation under the American industrial Internet thinking can exactly match China's actual situation.

In July 2023, the Fudan University Manufacturing Digital Transformation Research Team conducted a survey on more than 30 digital transformation service providers and demand-side companies. Photo provided by interviewee

China News Service reporter: In terms of industrial policy support, especially for the digital transformation of small and medium-sized enterprises, what support measures have been taken by various governments? What kind of industrial policy support do China's small and medium-sized enterprises need?

Liu Junmei:

Generally speaking, with the support of the government, the United States, Germany, Japan, and Singapore have all built or formed relatively mature support systems or platforms; the governments of China, Germany, Singapore, and South Korea are more concerned about the digital transformation of small and medium-sized manufacturing enterprises. .

  In terms of industrial support, the U.S. government has created the National Manufacturing Innovation Network as an "incubator" to reduce the costs and risks of R&D and application in the form of "industry-university-research-government" cooperation, promote the R&D of advanced technologies, and promote the transformation and application of research results. ; The German government has established an Industry 4.0 platform and an Industry 4.0 Center of Excellence for small and medium-sized enterprises, with government leadership and experts from academia and industry participating to provide assistance for the digital transformation of all industrial enterprises; the Japanese government has formed a mature multi-party cooperation support system , that is, the "government-industry-university" integrated cooperation mechanism, has played a significant role in the transformation of technological achievements; Singapore has also launched the "National Artificial Intelligence Core" plan and the "University-Enterprise Research Laboratory" plan to bring together the government, domestic and foreign enterprises, The tripartite forces of universities and other scientific research institutions. The Chinese government has also built a platform for the integration of informatization and informatization, but the number of participating companies and the construction of platform functions still need to be improved.

  In China, small and medium-sized enterprises are an important part of the market economy, and their digital transformation is an important part of stimulating China's economic vitality. However, due to limitations in technology, funds, talents and management experience, which hinder the digital transformation of small and medium-sized enterprises, governments at all levels are promoting multi-party cooperation between financial institutions, platforms and enterprises, using practical policies and measures such as "Yunliang Loan" to Try to solve the problems of small, medium and micro enterprises that "don't know how to transform", "can't transform" and "don't dare to transform" in the face of digital transformation.

On September 21, 2023, workers rushed to produce ordered products in the "digital textile workshop" of the Green Textile Industrial Park in Lianjiang County, Fuzhou City, Fujian Province. Photo by Wang Wangwang

  We can learn from Germany's experience. Germany's industry is developed, and large enterprises have a high level of digitalization, with some enterprises at the top level in the world. Therefore, Germany's policy support pays more attention to small and medium-sized enterprises, and has built a large number of SME Industry 4.0 Centers of Excellence and SME test beds to provide small and medium-sized enterprises. Provide opportunities to recognize and understand digitalization, and provide specific digital transformation implementation plans. (over)

Interviewee profile:

  Liu Junmei is the deputy dean of the School of Economics at Fudan University, deputy secretary-general of the China Society for World Economics, and associate professor at the Institute of World Economics at the School of Economics at Fudan University. The main research directions include world economic theory, emerging market economy, digital economy, Russian economy, etc.; main social and academic part-time jobs include: deputy secretary-general of the China World Economics Association, vice-president of the Shanghai Russian, Eastern European and Central Asian Society, Fudan University European and American Alumni Association Liberal Arts Chairman of the sub-committee, member of the 14th and 15th Shanghai Yangpu District Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, member of the Shanghai Yangpu District Committee of the Jiusan Society; concurrently serving as an anonymous reviewer for magazines such as "Russian Studies" and "Eurasian Economy" Contributor.