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Industry 4.0 creating a buzz in western hemisphere: But watch out for China pulling into the fast lane

Heng, Stefan (2019): Industry 4.0 creating a buzz in western hemisphere: But watch out for China pulling into the fast lane. Published in: Machado, Carolina und Davim, J. Paulo (Eds.). “Industry 4.0: Challenges, Trends and Solutions in Management and Engineering”; Taylor & Francis; ISBN 9780815354406 (8 June 2020): pp. 43-76.

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Industry 4.0 is a subject with global implications. Essentially, the concept comes down to the reorganisation and automation of value chains. If successfully implemented, industry 4.0 sets out to revolutionise the way goods and services are created and distributed, reshaping the industrial landscape on a national and global scale. Thus, China is determined to seize the opportunities of the digital evolution. Chinas government actively promotes the transformation towards an innovation-led growth model through large policy programs. The scope of funding for seven Strategic Emerging Industries is placed in the Five-Year-Plan. Thus, the government unveiled its “Made in China 2025” program. Here, China is considered the most mature adopter of industry 4.0 worldwide. Aside from world leaders such as Huawei and ZTE, myriads of Chinese small and medium enterprises create an updated version of German Mittelstand for Far East. Notwithstanding, the rank and file of China’s companies did still not embrace the benefits of previous industrial stages. The country is and will remain highly heterogeneous. Therefore, industry 4.0 is realised locally and in an evolutionary fashion. Overall, China’s implementation of industry 4.0 is still in its infancy. Nevertheless, by managing to extrapolate the momentum, China is pulling into the fast lane.

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