Made in China vs Made in India: Who will win the global manufacturing race?
According to reports, Made in China 2025 will be unveiled in the near future and will give Made in India a run for its money as the two nations fight to become the world’s main manufacturing hub.
Made in China 2015 reportedly identified ten sectors as priorities, including:
- New information technology
- High-end numerically controlled machine tools and robotics
- Aerospace equipment
- Ocean engineering equipment and ships with high technology
- Advanced railway traffic equipment
- Energy saving and new energy vehicles
- Power equipment
- New materials
- Biological medicine and high-performance medical devices
- Agricultural production machinery
Made in China 2025 will focus on upgrading of the manufacturing sector to improve innovation, and integrate information technology and industrialization through green manufacturing and manufacturing internationalization.
While many comparisons have been made between India’s Made in India campaign and Germany’s Industrie 4.0, Chinese officials have claimed that its approach is very different, and builds on China’s reputations as a world class manufacturing destination.
Industrie 4.0 — the result of collaboration between the German government, research institutions and businesses — focuses on the development of fully-automated "smart" factories. These factories would make products on the shop floor fully customizable, according to media reports.
Made in India focuses on making India a destination of choice through having an engaged workforce and open trade and business channels.
Made in China 2025, on the other hand, will span the whole manufacturing industry, applying advanced ideas not only from Germany but also from the US and Britain, among others.
It is understood that the aim of the initiative is to push forward the transformation and upgrade of the manufacturing industry, but also push development.
Amid China's "new normal" of economic development, featuring slower but higher quality growth, the government is attempting to steer the economy toward a more sustainable growth mode driven by domestic consumption, the service sector and, most importantly, innovation. To this end, Made in China 2025 will focus on five major projects, including the establishment of a manufacturing innovation centre.
A focus on innovation has resulted in some domestic companies, such as telecommunications giant Huawei, climbing up the value chain. The Shenzhen-based company has spent more than 190 billion yuan (US$30.6 billion) on R&D over the past decade. Of its 150,000 employees, more than 45 percent are in innovation, research and development positions.
In 2014, spending on R&D in China accounted for 2.1 percent of GDP, a record high. The proportion in some regions such as Shanghai was as high as 3.6 percent. Thanks to these efforts, improvements can be seen, such as the industrial value added of the high-tech sector and equipment manufacturing, which jumped by 11.4 percent and 7.7 percent respectively in the first quarter, out-pacing overall industrial growth.
Industrial output grew 6.4 percent year on year in the January-March period, down from 8.7 percent growth a year ago.
By 2025, the plan aims to see the lead time of products shortened by 20 percent of the current average, according to the insider.
Made in China 2025, proposed in this year's government work report, was touted as having the potential to empower the manufacturing sector.
Fluent.ai x BSH: Voice Automating the Assembly Line
Fluent.ai has deployed its voice recognition solutions in one of BSH’s German factories. BSH leads the market in producing connected appliances—its brands include Bosch, Siemens, Gaggenau, NEFF, and Thermador, and with this new partnership, the company intends to cut transition time in its assembly lines.
According to BSH, voice automation will yield 75-100% efficiency gains—but it’s the collaboration between the two companies that stands out. ‘After considering 11 companies for this partnership, we chose Fluent.ai because of their key competitive differentiators’, explained Ion Hauer, Venture Partner at BSH Startup Kitchen.
What Sets Fluent.ai Apart?
After seven years of research, the company developed a wide range of artificial intelligence (AI) software products to help original equipment manufacturers (OEM) expand their services. Three key aspects stood out to BSH, which operates across the world and in unique factory environments.
- Robust noise controls. The system can operate even in loud conditions.
- Low latency. The AI understands commands quickly and accurately.
- Multilingual support. BSH can expand the automation to any of its 50+ country operations.
How Voice Automation Works
Instead of pressing buttons, BSH factory workers will now be able to speak into a headset fitted with Fluent.ai’s voice recognition technology. After uttering a WakeWord, workers can use a command to start assembly line movement. As the technology is hands-free, workers benefit from less physical strain, which will both reduce employee fatigue and boost line production.
‘Implementing Fluent’s technology has already improved efficiencies within our factory, with initial implementation of the solution cutting down the transition time from four seconds to one and a half”, said Markus Maier, Project Lead at the BSH factory. ‘In the long run, the production time savings will be invaluable’.
Future Global Adoption
In the coming years, BSH and Fluent.ai will continue to push for artificial intelligence on factory lines, pursuing efficiency, ergonomics, and a healthy work environment. ‘We started with Fluent.ai on one factory assembly line, moved to three, and [are now] considering rolling the technology out worldwide’, said Maier.
Said Probal Lala, Fluent.ai’s CEO: ‘We are thrilled to be working with BSH, a company at the forefront of innovation. Seeing your solution out in the real world is incredibly rewarding, and we look forward to continuing and growing our collaboration’.