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News from China
Sany finds smart way to boost bottom line
26th September 2016

 SHANGHAI-LISTED machinery manufacturer Sany Heavy Industry Co is using smart manufacturing to narrow its losses, the company said at Pujiang Innovation Forum 2016 on Saturday.

Despite profits taking a dive last year, Sany remained the most profitable machinery manufacturer in China over the first half with a net profit of 138 million yuan (US$20.7 million) and total revenue of 11.2 billion yuan. Its competitor XCMG posted a 120 million yuan profit, while Zoomlion suffered an 837 million yuan net loss.

Sany’s profit fell 48.6 percent from the first half of last year, and plummeted 75.6 percent two years ago. “That’s because we are weathering the industry fluctuations by diversifying on smart manufacturing,” said He Dongdong, Sany’s senior vice president.

Apart from selling machinery products such as concrete machine and crane parts, “we are profiting on on-time maintenance for our customers,” He said.

Sany could now predict and tackle potential breakdowns on its machinery parts sold to customers based on a digital connection network after a 1 billion yuan investment over eight years.

The company designated more than 5,000 engineers on research and development, of which according to He, a big part of that revolved round its informatics team working on 48 analyzing parameters for machine maintenance and upgrading.

In its “smart factory” in Changsha, Hunan province, 20 percent of operational cost could be cut thanks to digitization, China Business Network reported on Tuesday.

Over the first half Sany cut 15.5 percent on sales costs from a year ago, and 8.9 percent on management costs, according to its annual report.

Beena Ammanath, head of Data Science Products at US-based General Electric, backed the cost of going smart. She said breakdown predictions based on data analysis would help to extend machines’ lifetime by 20 to 30 years, contributing to a long-term cost cut for manufacturers.

The machinery industry worldwide is suffering a downturn because of diminishing demand.

Source: Shanghai Daily, September 26, 2016
Siemens inaugurates digital institute in Suzhou
21st September 2016

 GERMAN industrial giant Siemens opened a digital research institute in Suzhou yesterday to tap into China’s smart transport and digital manufacturing markets. The institute will have seven laboratories, two of which are already operational.

One of them, a smart transport lab, develops applications that allow integrated connectivity in traffic systems. Researchers are collaborating with Changchun city government in northeast China to upgrade the city’s traffic systems. The other working lab, which is an Internet security lab, provides surveillance against cyber attacks.

The other five labs will cover the fields of data, industrial robotics, Internet of things and smart equipment applications.

China contributed nearly 10 percent of Siemens’ global sales last year where the group bid large on digital industrialization. Siemens will also set up an office in Shanghai next month.

Source: Shanghai Daily, September 21, 2016
New technologies ‘boost’ marketing
20th September 2016

 THE use of artificial intelligence, augmented reality and virtual reality technologies has made advertising and marketing more user-friendly and interesting, officials with tech giants Tencent Inc and Google Inc said yesterday.

Picture recognition, AR-featured games and VR experiences have been adopted by advertisers, like Pokemon Go in McDonald’s, and VR room review has been used by firms like Ctrip.

AI and data analysis offer dot-com firms the ability to “predict” consumer behavior and fashion trends. The new technologies have brought data-driven firms, like Tencent, unique advantages, Steven Chang, corporate vice president of Tencent, said at an AI marketing forum in Shanghai yesterday.

“The technologies have changed marketing rules of the TV and newspaper era, even though they had existed for up to over 75 years,” said Chang, whose Tencent boasts millions of users on its social, game, video, news and e-commerce platforms.

Scott Beaumont, president of Google China, expects AI and data analysis to be key drivers in improving marketing methods, covering machine learning, picture recognition and integrated data analysis.

In China, VR has become a game-changing technology in the industry, making marketing more interactive.

More than 6.35 million VR devices are expected to be sold globally this year, 40 percent coming from China, according to industry analysts

Source: Shanghai Daily, September, 20
Chinese banks' net forex sales plummet in August
20th September 2016

Chinese banks saw their net foreign exchange sales dropped by 70 percent from July to 9.5 billion U.S. dollars in August, official data showed Monday.

Chinese lenders bought 125.7 billion dollars' worth of foreign currency last month and sold 135.2 billion dollars, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) said in a statement.

The amount of net sales in August was the lowest since July 2015.
A SAFE spokesperson attributed the decrease largely to seasonal factors as forex demand had been satiated the previous month as many foreign companies in China remit profits overseas in July, which is also the high season for overseas travels.
Despite the monthly drop, the forex market remains calm, the spokesperson said, predicting stable and more balanced capital flow in the long term.
Source: Xinhua

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