Sensing an opportunity for FDI in central China
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Star corporates at the 2019 World Sensors Summit in Zhengzhou point to opportunity for investment in the region


Zhengzhou National Hi-tech Industrial Development Zone was established in 1988 to help drive innovation in the city, Henan Province, and in China more widely. Most recently, the zone has focused its attention on sensors, with efforts to boost its output and its investment potential from overseas.

Zhengzhou has developed its China (Zhengzhou) Intelligent Sensor Industry Development Plan along with a three-year action plan ‒ adopting favourable industry policies and establishing the Henan branch of the Smart Sensor Federation, as well as making preparations for building the Intelligent Sensor Manufacturing Innovation Center of Henan Province. 

Most significantly, on November 9 it hosted the 2019 World Sensors Summit at the Zhengzhou International Convention Center ‒ an event designed to serve as an important platform for domestic and international exchanges and cooperation in senor business, education, R&D and investment, and to pave the way for a national-level smart sensor industrial base with a production value of more than a RMB100 billion. 

The need for sensors

Today, information technologies such as the Internet of Things, big data, cloud computing and artificial intelligence are converging across disciplines, with innovations happening at an ever faster pace ‒ which all translates into profound economic and social impacts. As sensors connect everything, the sensor industry is considered one of the three industries that together provide the foundation for others. It serves as an important indicator of regional and national technology advancement.

To discuss and explore the leading trends in the industry, the 2019 World Sensors Summit explored the theme of “Sense the World, Win the Future”, attracting the likes of Panasonic, Siemens, Microsoft and GM. The summit aimed to facilitate exchanges on the latest global progress in the technology, industry and applications of sensors, and to promote in-depth collaboration on various fronts, including policies, production, education, research, application, finance and media.

Academics from universities and institutes in China and from around the world were in attendance, alongside delegates from more than 300 enterprises, many of which are Fortune Global 500 companies, Top 500 Enterprises of China and other renowned companies in the sensor industry ‒ such as Siemens, Panasonic, Honeywell, GE, Alibaba,, Dassault, CNPC and China Academy of Space ‒ signalling the pulling power of the event, and indeed of Zhengzhou itself.

Exploring new opportunities

The summit was held in Zhengzhou, against the backdrop of a city that has an industrial chain covering sensors for multiple sectors ‒ including gases, meteorology and agriculture ‒ and claims leading Chinese companies such as “Hi-well Tech”, in its Hi-tech Zone, which is already a frontrunner in China on smart sensor R&D and industrialization.

Five international organizations were invited to co-organize the summit ‒ Kyoto Automation Alliance, OPC (China) Foundation, Institute of Measurement and Control, Italian Instrumentation Companies Association and Malaysian Robotics Industry Association. Overseas interest was significant, with 12 overseas organizations participating, including from the US, Japan, Germany, UK, Italy and South Korea.

The summit was steered by strong local support from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of PRC, China Association for Science and Technology and the People’s Government of Henan Province. The host organizations included China Instrument and Control Society, Henan Provincial Development and Reform Commission, Henan Provincial Department of Science and Technology, Henan Provincial Industry and Information Technology Commission, Henan Provincial Foreign Affairs Committee Office, Henan Association for Science and Technology and the People’s Government of Zhengzhou, along with support from the China Instrument and Control Society and the Management Committee of Zhengzhou National Hi-tech Industrial Development Zone. 

During the conference, several sensor projects were officially signed up to launch their operation in Zhengzhou. These projects include HIT Robotics and Smart Equipment Hi-tech Park, Golden Sensing Precision Laser Sensor R&D Center, a partnership between the Electrical Engineering Institute of CAS and Henan Relations Co Ltd on thermal infrared sensors, and a partnership between Zhengzhou Road & Bridge Construction Investment Group and Suzhou Topline Technologies Co Ltd on hydrogen sensor. In the near future, the China (Zhengzhou) Intelligent Sensor Valley, which is going to be built in Zhengzhou Hi-tech Zone, could become a smart sensor industrial base of national significance. 

Speakers and delegates at the 2019 World Sensors Summit

Academics and experts:

• Jin Guofan, professor of Tsinghua University and member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE)

• You Zheng, vice president of Tsinghua University and CAE member 

• Zhou Liwei, chief expert of Beijing Institute of Technology and CAE member

• Jiang Zhuangde, vice president of Xi'an Jiaotong University and CAE member

• Ni Guangnan, fellow of Institute of Computing Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and CAE member 

• Yao Jianquan, president of Tianjin University and CAS member

• Tan Jiubin, dean of School of Instrument Science and Engineering, Harbin Institute of Technology (HIT) and CAE member

• Zhao Liancheng, HIT professor and CAE member

• Zhong Shan, member of No.2 Institute of China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation and CAE member

• Wu Hongxin, deputy director of science and technology committee of Beijing Institute of Control Engineering and CAS member

• Chu Junhao, member of the Shanghai Institute of Technical Physics and CAS member

• Li Changming, member of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering

• Chen Xiangli, member of the American National Academy of Engineering

• Yang Jun, professor of the University of Western Ontario and member of the Canadian Academy of Engineering

• Han Li, deputy director of the Institute of Electrical Engineering, CAS

Representatives of international organizations:

• Youji Tanaka, president of Kyoto Automation Alliance

• Zhang Yu, chief representative of OPC (China) Foundation China Office

• Yin Fugen, technical expert of the China Committee of IO-Link Consortium

• Professor Elfed Lewis, US director of The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)

• Graham Machin, president of Institute of Measurement and Control (InsMC)

• Chee Fai Tan, president of Malaysian Robotics Industry Association

• Wen Bin, deputy general manager of Mechanical Engineering Industry Association (VDMA) Beijing Region

• Wu Xiangqian, technical expert of User Association of Automation Technology in Process Industries (NAMUR)

• Han Fenglei, technical expert of Center for Chemical Process Safety, The American Institute of Chemical Engineers

• Liu Ting, representative of Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET)

• Shi Weiren, director of Robotics and Automation Institute, the Chinese University of Hong Kong

Representatives of Chinese and foreign enterprises

• Toshinori Imai, executive director of Panasonic Industrial Devices SUNX Co Ltd 

• Shane McNamara, chief scientist at SICK AG

• Qin Haibo, general manager of Beijing Instrument Industry Group

• Wang Dongjiang, general manager of BENEFO 

• Luan Guangfu, vice president of CHINT

• Yang Bin, vice president of Phoenix (China) Investment Co Ltd

• Gao Wu, vice president of Beijing SDL Technology Co Ltd 

• Xie Yong, general manager of Shanghai Lanbao Sensing Technology Co Ltd

• Sun Huifeng, president of CCID Consulting Company Limited

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