China outlook: Digital transformation on the rise both in manufacturing and communications
The CIIF brought together 2,238 exhibitors from 22 countries and regions around the world, of which international exhibitors accounted for about 20 percent. Over 500 new technologies or new products were showcased at the event, and according to the organizers, professional visitors to the CIIF increased by 4.3% compared to those attending the show the previous year.
Digitalization transformation a leading topic at CIIF
While some things within the B2B realm – such as tradeshows – are returning to their pre-Corona state in Asia, one of the big changes that EMG China has noticed is how digital transformation has become a technology enabler for major manufacturing enterprises in their transformation and upgrading initiatives. Both digitization and intelligence are an inevitable trend of the manufacturing industry when it comes to business sustainability.
According to a newly launched report from IDC entitled “Futures cape: Worldwide Manufacturing Industry 2020 Predictions”, in China new business formats and models represented by the Industrial Internet will bring new development momentum and more business opportunities to the manufacturing industry. By 2024, 60% of Chinese manufacturers will use digital twin technology in their IoT and machine learning-driven processes, leading to reduced operating expenses by 10%.
During CIIF, this movement towards digital was very apparent. Communications and campaigns around the event were dominated with news about digital transformation processes and manufacturers were present mainly to support their customers’ scenarios-based applications. International brands such as Bosch, ABB and Siemens, as well as major Chinese manufacturers including Midea and XCMG, were invited by their partners to also introduce their digital transformation practices to their visitors at the event.
Digitalization and AI extending to marketing and communications
This trend of digital transformation is not only happening within the manufacturing process, but is affecting companies throughout all areas – especially the sales and marketing departments. During the last 9 months, we noticed more industrial B2B brands diversified their social media marketing methods before and during the CIIF show to include enhanced WeChat coverage with videos, KOL placements and other innovative tactics.
We also notice a growth in the creation of digital showrooms – and expect to see more of these in 2021 as more sophisticated and interactive versions become available and as virtual attendees grow accustomed to engaging in them.
The reason digital showrooms have been so successful in China (and beyond) is that they enable companies to extend their event coverage to not only the in-person attendees, but to media and customers who were not able to attend the show – either due to Corona restrictions, timing or other reasons. They are also helpful in collecting sales leads and CRM management making them a win/win for both the marketing and the sales team.
Positive outlooks for the future
The J. P. Morgan Global Manufacturing PMI™, a composite index produced by J.P.Morgan and IHS Markit in association with ISM and IFPSM, showed the global manufacturing sector moved back into expansion territory in July with an index rating of 50.3 –which is up from 47.9 in June and back above the neutral 50.0 mark for the first time since January.
We are seeing the same trend with manufacturing reviving in China. The Chinese manufacturing PMI was 51.0 in August, or 52.0 for new orders, marking a rise for four consecutive months which indicate the market is recovering.
Today, the world is dynamically changing in a way that has been rarely seen over the past century. However, with the pandemic still an issue worldwide, we know that economic globalization is an irreversible historical trend. We also must accept that the trend of digital transformation is unstoppable.
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