Wuxi cements position as national internet of things center

Published on 09/11 2017  Source: chinausfocus.com


City of Jiangsu province has invested heavily in business, connectivity revolution

Since becoming China's first and only national demonstration zone for internet of things in 2009, the city of Wuxi in East China's economically powerful Jiangsu province has invested heavily in revolutionizing the way it does business.

IoT is the interconnection of any physical device, be it a car or phone or an entire building, which allows information to be sensed and flow freely, controlled through a network remotely.

So important has IoT become that it now accounts for 210 billion yuan ($31.9 billion) of Wuxi's total annual revenue, according to figures released for 2016.

With the establishment of 11 international IoT standards and 41 national ones, the city also enhances China's status in terms of global IoT.

As such, it is no wonder that the city has been chosen as the permanent host of the World Internet of Things Exposition, to be held this year from Sept 10 to 13.

According to Gao Yaguang, Wuxi's vice-mayor, the achievements the city has made in IoT are just the beginning.

"Wuxi is a traditional industrial city, but we intend on continuing to boost out IoT industry, promoting even greater upgrading and transformation in the local economy," Gao said.

The growth in IoT in the city over the past eight years has been phenomenal. In 2009, there were just 248 IoT companies, but today the number stands at more than 2,000, with average annual revenues rising by above 20 percent in the past five years.

Wuxi's initial spurs of growth came from government investment and the creation of IoT-related research centers to attract talent, such as an IoT engineering technology center owned by the Ministry of Environmental Protection, and IoT R&D institutions affiliated with Tsinghua University, Peking University and Fudan University.

The strategy has worked for the government with IoT enterprises and research centers attracting some 3,000 high-caliber professionals, among whom 66 are listed in the Thousand Talents Plan, a recruitment program for overseas experts.

So far, more than 2,000 IoT R&D projects at the provincial-level and above have settled in Wuxi, bringing with them over 5,000 IoT-related patents.

"The research centers are aimed at fueling exchanges and cooperation from which IoT businesses can learn from one another and gain inspiration for product design and marketing," Gao said.

Growth in Wuxi's IoT industry is up on 30 percent last year alone, according to the government's 2016 work report.

Although the government has played a strong role in fostering the boom in IoT, it is time for the industry to undergo its next change, according to Wuxi Mayor Wang Quan.

"Our IoT industry is making great progress in transforming from being a government-supported sector into one that is being led by market development," Wang said.

As a national demonstration area of IoT, Wuxi is serving as a testing base for IoT businesses and encouraging them to explore the market, accumulate experience and optimize products.

In the past eight years, more than 2,000 Wuxi businesses have tried new IoT applications in different fields, forming an industrial cluster of information sensing, network communication, processing applications, key generic technologies and support services.

As of 2016, Wuxi enterprises have been contracted to construct IoT projects in more than 400 cities in over 30 countries. The city is home to 17 national key IoT demonstration zones covering finance, transportation, environmental protection, medical treatment and many others.