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IoT in China: Four Need-to-Know Trends

7 Minutes Read

The Internet of Things (IoT) has created a sea change in the way companies operate—particularly in the realm of manufacturing. Around the world, businesses are using IoT to make higher-quality products at lower cost and more sustainably. And in the consumer world, smart devices have dramatically altered the way people live their lives, from making purchases to finding information. The global IoT market, which has been growing at 26.9%  for several years now, shows no signs of slowing—according to Market Data Forecast, it’s projected to reach $875 billion by 2025.

Outside of the Americas, China is the biggest producer and consumer of IoT goods. To understand the future of IoT, this is where we need to look. Chinese innovations will transform the manufacturing industry—and will require greater investment in cybersecurity from all who do business there.

China is a Major Player in the IoT market

China is a leading manufacturer of connected devices in a global IoT market that will only continue to grow in the coming years. According to IDC, there will be 55.9 billion connected devices by 2025. China Telecom, the parent company of China Telecom Americas, estimates that in 2020, 95% of those devices were manufactured in China. As demand increases, China will be playing an ever-greater role in the global IoT market.

The IoT market within China itself is formidable. In 2019, China had 5.5 billion connected devices. And Statista found that the overall Chinese IoT market rose from $110 billion in 2015 to $246 billion in 2020, further projecting that it will reach $412 billion by 2025. This exponential growth indicates that China’s position as a major consumer of smart devices dovetails with its role as a primary producer of these goods.

Strong Support from the Public Sector is Driving the Expansion of IoT in China

According to Forrester, China’s embrace of IoT-enabled technology is powered by two significant initiatives: Internet Plus and Made in China 2025. The Internet Plus roadmap aims to integrate cloud computing, big data, and IoT with industries such as manufacturing, medicine, and finance. The public sector has already invested $4.4 billion into R&D for smart devices.

The Made in China 2025 initiative narrows the focus to Chinese intelligent manufacturing. Its goal is to upgrade China’s Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) in order to expand high-tech industries including robotics, aviation, and electric vehicles. By explicitly supporting smart manufacturing, Internet Plus and Made in China 2025, China’s public sector is championing future growth in this market.

Manufacturing Will Be Transformed by China’s IoT

Manufacturing is the next frontier of the IoT revolution, and China is its main backdrop. With nearly a third of the world’s cellular connections in the machine-to-machine (M2M) market, China stands to benefit greatly from further development of smart technology. Beyond streamlining the supply chain, reducing waste, and minimizing environmental damage, IoT-enabled devices can boost GDP. China Telecom estimates that over 60% of the IoT’s GDP impact in China will come from implementing M2M.

To that end, China Telecom is partnering with General Electric to advance M2M in China. Together, China Telecom and GE are developing a software platform to bring data analytics to China’s industrial sector and are also collaborating in cloud-based image storage, telemedicine applications, advanced manufacturing and cloud computing.

The Challenge of Creating Unified IoT Standards

According to iResearch China, there are at least 10 common IoT wireless communication technologies, 14 sensing standards, and 23 network transmission standards in China alone. New IoT platforms keep emerging, but most do not integrate with others on the market. The development of many different IoT platforms, protocols, and security practices has resulted in an uneven Internet landscape.

As the IoT market continues to evolve, the challenge will be to streamline platforms and collaborate globally so that all regions can benefit from global IoT standards. As a leader in both the Chinese and global IoT markets, as well as provisioning the Internet service that enables this technology across 80% of the nation, China Telecom, the parent company of China Telecom Americas, is a key partner in several open-source initiatives, including 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP), and OpenStack Foundation (OSF). Its commitment to IoT standards makes it well positioned to create a secure, streamlined, and accessible IoT landscape across China and beyond.

To learn more about China Telecom Americas’ IoT solutions, visit our manufacturing page.