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'Industrie 4.0'

Will German technology help China catch up with the West?

In 2011, Industrie 4.0 (“Industrial Internet”) was presented to the public at Hannover Messe for the first time. Within only a couple of years, Industrie 4.0 has become one of the key topics in intelligent manufacturing. Within the industry, digitisation of production processes is on everyone’s lips. No wonder, Industrie 4.0 is again the core issue of this year’s Hannover Messe. Exhibitors from all over the world present their latest developments in industrial digitisation and smart manufacturing to the trade fair visitors. The participation of 800 exhibitors from China proves the importance China attaches to Industrie 4.0.

In their latest China Monitor, Jost Wübbeke (Research Associate, MERICS) and Björn Conrad (Associate Vice President for Research) take a closer look at Industrie 4.0 and its impact on Sino-German cooperation: ‘Industrie 4.0’: Will German Technology Help China Catch Up with the West?

China, they argue, is absolutely determined to jump on the Industrie 4.0 bandwagon. And it’s got no time to spare: increases in wages portend the end of the low-wage era. Therefore, China needs digitisation to enhance efficiency and quality and to draw level with leading industrialised nations. Within this process, Germany is China’s preferred partner: the German concept of ‘Industrie 4.0’ serves as a guideline for the Chinese government. Germany has the advanced technology needed for ‘Industrie 4.0’. Demand from China offers German sellers unique sales opportunities. The time window is limited, though, as German firms are likely to be edged out as soon as Chinese companies close the technology gap.