China's home appliance industry is gradually becoming a global leader in the field of AI and Internet of Things (IoT), according to a report released at the Appliance & Electronics World Expo (AWE) in Shanghai.
More than 250,000 visitors and over 800 home appliance and electronics manufacturers participated in the AWE, which ended on Sunday.
All leading Chinese home appliance makers joined in promoting intellectualization in upgrading traditional manufacturing operations.
Haier Group, China's largest home appliance maker, has set up the country's first national-class industrial Internet platform COSMOPlat and the world's leading Internet platform that has independent intellectual property rights in China.
In 2017, COSMOPlat became the world's largest mass customized solution platform with total transactions reaching 313.3 billion yuan (49.42 billion US dollars) and 4.12 million orders.
The world's biggest air-conditioner maker Gree Electric Appliances has been focusing on converting their existing eight production bases into unmanned factories in a push to upgrade manufacturing techniques with technology.
Local brand Aucma, previously known as a leading maker of refrigerators and freezers, began to develop advanced equipment in recent years, such as ultra-low temperature cooling systems and driverless trucks equipped with a dual vision system and AI driving system.
Midea Group's robotic arm, in Germany, KUKA AG, will double the production capacity of robots and robotics systems in China, as the country's demand for robotics has been booming recently. Midea Group has announced M-Smart, a smart home system designed for the future of family living.
In the past few years, the company has invested 20 billion yuan into research and development of smart home solutions, including the establishment of 17 research centers in eight countries, with more than 10,000 employees involved in R&D and 26,000 authorized patents.
"Midea Group sold over 300 million products each year; that's a huge base for our AI 'smart home' platform," said Zhang Xiaoyi, CIO of Midea Group. "Therefore we are developing products and services that go beyond the household into the community and 'new retail' scenario, to realize our goal of 'connecting people,' instead of merely connecting home appliances."
According to statistics from market consultancy Statista, China's smart home market is expected to reach a value of 130 billion yuan (20.3 billion US dollars) by the end of 2018, with an annual growth rate of about 48 percent, a big jump from the 40.3 billion yuan market in 2015.