1. News
June 7, 2021

China unveils roadmap to scale 5G and Industrial Internet of Things

By Elles Houweling

The Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) released its Industrial Internet 2021 Work Plan on Friday, detailing its goal to further expand China’s 5G network and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

IIoT refers to the interconnection between sensors, instruments and other devices networked together with computers’ industrial applications, including manufacturing and energy management. This connectivity allows for data collection, exchange, analysis, and potentially facilitating improvements in productivity and efficiency.

As part of the country’s 14th five-year plan, the document outlines seven major objectives that aim to promote the usage of 5G in the expansion of China’s IIoT. These include speeding up infrastructure construction, improving 5G and IIoT infrastructure. The document also describes a push to accelerate the speed and access to cloud computing for industrial equipment as well as the promotion of the IIoT, improving platform application services, deepening multi-level platform verification and cultivating innovative IIoT solutions.

The government also announced its ambitions to expand China’s expertise in areas such as edge computing, IIoT operating systems, time-sensitive networking and identification analysis. It also plans to strengthen the safeguarding of intellectual property.

While the consumer side of the Internet of Things has been widely hyped for decades, the industrial element is likely to materialise much sooner and, as the world’s largest manufacturing power, many have their eyes set on China to watch its development.

According to GlobalData’s thematic analysis, China is a world leader in 5G, both in terms of equipment and roll out and is quickly expanding its 5G IoT network. Its 14th five-year plan is a blueprint for both survival and extending China’s power and autonomy as the US and China decouple, global economic growth and trade slow down, protectionism rises and supply chains unravel.

“China’s industrial internet is ushering in new growth opportunities amid the industrial revolution globally,” Qingdao party secretary Wang Qingxian told China Daily. “It has a potential that goes beyond the imagination, which not only promotes the upgrading of manufacturing industry but also determines whether China can lead the next round of the technological and industrial revolution worldwide.”

The build-out of the Digital Silk Road is the spearhead of China’s external drive into the developing world as the Belt and Road Initiative encounters some blowback. Establishing a widespread IIoT network would significantly boost China’s substantial manufacturing power.