Ten-year evolution theory made in China|Foshan: When a trillion-dollar pan-home town develops robots

【Editor’s note】

Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, Made in China has been upgrading from big to strong. China’s status as the “world’s factory” is stable, and the technological content of Chinese manufacturing is getting higher and higher, and it has approached the global frontier in some fields. At the same time, there are also many industries whose core and key technologies are controlled by others and need to be broken through.

“The core of the manufacturing industry is innovation, that is, to master key core technologies, we must strive for self-reliance and independent innovation.” This is also the struggle direction of Chinese manufacturing enterprises with a sense of mission.

2022 is an important time node linking the previous and the next. The Paper specially planned a special report on “Ten Years of Evolution of Made in China”. By visiting 10 Chinese cities and interviewing local representative companies, it recorded the evolution of Made in China in the past ten years.

In Chancheng District, Foshan, Guangdong, Nanfeng Guzao Scenic Area, two ancient dragon kilns are like two long dragons lying on the ground of Foshan.

The chimney at the end of the dragon kiln is still towering in the empty square, but it no longer spits “black peony”. An “Ancient Kitchen God Banyan” that has been growing in the ancient dragon kiln for more than 400 years is still there.

Traveling through the Lingnan characteristic ancient buildings, pottery murals, dolls, and maps of scenic spots can be seen everywhere, all of which tell the long history of pottery making in Foshan.

The ceramics industry is often regarded as a starting point for understanding Foshan’s manufacturing industry, and this has also become the first stop of the surging journalists’ visit to Foshan’s manufacturing industry.

Ceramics are beautiful, and pottery is expensive to make.

“20 years ago here, you couldn’t see the sky, and the whole Foshan was filled with the smell of dust.” Chen Xianwei, president of Eagle Ceramics, told The Paper.

Foshan, which was once dusty, is now lined with green trees.

From “dusty smell” to “Meitao Bay”

With the ceramic industry as its pillar, Chancheng District, Foshan, is known as the “Pottery Capital of the Southern Country”, and has a long tradition of firing kilns.

In 2021, the sales volume of Pan-Foshan ceramics will account for about 60% of the national total. Chancheng District is also the world’s largest ceramic supporting center. The sales of ceramic machinery account for 80% of the country and 50% of the world, the sales of ceramic colors and glazes account for 50% of the country, and the sales of ceramic molds account for more than 30% of the country.

5,000 years ago, the ancestors of Shiwan had mastered the pottery-making techniques of soil selection, molding and calcination. The folk saying “Shiwan Wajia World” has been handed down from the Ming Dynasty to this day. In the late Qing Dynasty, there were 107 dragon kilns in Foshan, with more than 60,000 potters.

This scene of “smoke from every village to every household” has continued into modern times. After the reform and opening up, based on the original resource endowment, historical tradition and technical foundation, Foshan’s ceramic industry has shifted from artistic ceramics to architectural ceramics.

Extensive ceramic manufacturing once became the pillar industry of Chancheng District, and it also brought the cost of high pollution and high energy consumption. Twenty years ago, the environmental pollution caused by the ceramic industry in Foshan had reached the limit that the ecosystem could bear. “The whole Foshan smelled of dust”, and the problems of air quality and water pollution were becoming more and more serious.

Since 2003, the Foshan Municipal Government has begun to promote the structural adjustment of key polluting industries such as ceramics.

In 2007, Foshan City proposed to upgrade traditional industries such as ceramics through the use of high-tech, advanced applicable technology and information transformation.

In 2012, Foshan City further proposed to implement an industrial pushback and exit mechanism, and shut down and transfer the production parts that are expensive for environmental protection.

“Foshan used to have a lot of pressure on environmental protection, but the use of digitalization in the upgrade process is very environmentally friendly.” Xiao Geng, director of the Institute of Policy and Practice of Shenzhen Advanced Institute of Finance, told The Paper that in the past 10 years, Foshan’s ceramic industry has been upgraded rapidly , the enterprises with high energy consumption and heavy pollution are basically eliminated, and the remaining are energy-saving enterprises that have undergone innovative research and development.

Removing the rough and extracting the essence provides an opportunity for Foshan’s ceramic industry to transform.

It can be seen that in the past ten years, Mona Lisa (002918.SZ), Keda Manufacturing (600499.SH), Dongpeng Holdings (003012.SZ), Diou Home Furnishing (002798.SZ), Tianan New Materials (603725) .SH), Wrigley Home Furnishing (001322.SZ) and other Foshan ceramic-related enterprises have entered the capital market.

“This is a very wise decision.” Chen Xianwei said that under the background of tightening environmental protection policies year by year, the quality of the air emitted during the manufacturing process, the soil dropped during the transportation of vehicles, and the internal circulation of water quality have been greatly improved.

Data disclosed by the Foshan Ecological Environment Bureau shows that in 2013, the average concentration of PM2.5 in Foshan was 53 micrograms per cubic meter; by 2021, the concentration dropped to 23 micrograms per cubic meter, a drop of more than half.

In addition to technological transformation in “hard power”, Foshan ceramics industry is actively seeking cultural “soft power”.

While supporting the existing famous brand enterprises to become stronger, the Foshan Municipal Government also organized the establishment of the “Foshan Ceramics” standard system and certification system to increase the gold content of this golden signboard. Correspondingly, the focus of Foshan ceramic enterprises has turned to design, research and development system and standardized management output.

At present, Foshan ceramics enterprises are cooperating with the government’s IP such as “Meitaowan” and “Foshan Made in Home”, so that local brands and enterprise brands can join forces to empower traditional industries with culture and history, and promote the joint efforts of the government and enterprises. progress.

Chen Xianwei said that in terms of product upgrades, Foshan ceramics companies combine cultural and creative products with Chinese cultural elements to meet the needs of consumption upgrades under the tide of domestic products. For example, the “Ink Beijing Bricks” of Eagle Ceramics extended the manufacturing process of the ancient intangible cultural heritage gold bricks of the Forbidden City, and re-created them, trying to make cultural and creative products with royal tastes into ordinary people’s homes, and get rid of Italy and other foreign countries. Design dependent.

Break out of the “Red Sea” to show their magical powers

“If you have a family, you can make it in Foshan”, which is an industrial IP that Foshan is actively building.

In addition to ceramics, “Made in Foshan” also includes furniture, home appliances, aluminum profiles, stainless steel, etc. As of 2020, Foshan’s pan-furniture industry has exceeded one trillion yuan. The most influential and the biggest contribution to Foshan’s economy is home appliances.

Since the reform and opening up, Foshan, like Shenzhen and Dongguan, has developed processing trade through the “front shop and back factory” and “three-to-one-supplement” model by taking advantage of the geographical advantage of being adjacent to Hong Kong. At the same time, Foshan also hatched a number of manufacturing brands that were later famous at home and abroad.

“Foshan is the closest to Guangzhou, but in terms of manufacturing, it is not far from Hong Kong and Shenzhen. The entire manufacturing industry has formed a scale (Scope), and enterprises have high flexibility in producing parts.” Xiao Geng said that Foshan and The global supply chain has long been closely linked, and the internal supply chain has also formed a complete ecology.

This is very obvious in the home appliance industry. The Shunde District of Foshan is home to well-known electrical companies such as Midea Group (000333.SZ), Galanz, and Bear Electric (002959.SZ).

Li Yifeng, the founder, chairman and general manager of Xiaoxiong Electric, told the surging news reporter that when he chose to start a business in Shunde, Foshan, he saw that there are a series of brand-name companies driving the development of the industry. Rich industrial support, components of all dimensions, including related molds, equipment, and design services, have formed a complete industrial chain. In addition, Shunde has also accumulated many relevant talents and enterprise management ideas.

Foshan, which owns the home appliance giant Midea, is now a well-known home appliance gathering place in the country. So, how did Foshan break out of the red sea of ​​the home appliance industry?

One way out is research and development.

The centrifuge is considered the crown of the central air-conditioning industry, and the maglev compressor technology is the crown jewel. Before 2019, the compressor, the core component of the magnetic levitation centrifuge, had been monopolized by foreign capital. Domestic brands had to purchase compressors from foreign manufacturers, and then only carried out the production and assembly of the whole machine.

Faced with the difficult research and development of maglev technology, Midea Group has established a three-level research and development system and employed a scientific research team composed of more than 100 professional engineers.

“More than 80% of the team has masters and doctorates, covering 15 majors such as electromagnetic technology, electronic control sensing, variable frequency drive, simulation algorithm, pneumatic fluid, and mechanical materials.” General Manager of Midea Building Technology Division Water Machinery Products Company Li Gefeng told The Paper that even so, the project team has experienced multiple staged failures such as “unable to suspend”, “dropped at a touch”, and “high-speed instability”, and the technical solutions and design standards have also undergone numerous major Adjust or even knock down.

After 5 years of research, Midea Group finally achieved a breakthrough in maglev technology from 0 to 1, established an overall simulation design platform for maglev systems, and possessed forward design capabilities. According to Li Gefeng, in 2021, Midea’s annual production and sales of magnetic levitation centrifuges will exceed 1,000 units, surpassing the last of the “four major families of US-funded centrifuges”, breaking the monopoly of the US-funded market. In 2022, Midea’s annual production and sales volume of centrifuges is expected to exceed 1,600 units, further challenging the industry’s leading position.

Founded in 2006, Bear Electric has seized the dividends of the Internet age. In 2014, with the rise of mobile e-commerce and the arrival of dividends, Xiaoxiong Electric decided to run the two lines in parallel.

Li Yifeng found that under the background of the rise of e-commerce, it is difficult to build a competitive threshold from a single category, so he has determined the path of multi-category and product enrichment of creative small household appliances.

Xiaoxiong Electric has chosen to produce innovative small household appliances such as yogurt machines and egg cookers with large gross profit margins. By exploring the needs of the “long tail market” and matching online channels, it quickly paved the way and won its market position.

At present, Xiaoxiong Electric has established more than 70 production lines and independently developed more than 60 categories, covering kitchen appliances, home appliances, household products, personal care, baby products, etc., with more than 500 models of products, known as “national creativity” home appliances”.

Li Yifeng said that the product development of China’s home appliances has changed from “bringing” to research and transformation based on the needs of Chinese consumers.

“Now there are more and more original products in China, and the manufacturing innovation of small household appliances in the future will basically be produced in China.” Li Yifeng said.

“New technologies will go to the intensive industries in Foshan to find application scenarios”

Business cards made in Foshan are not just home appliances.

In 2015, Foshan introduced the brand “Washu Robot” of the listed company Huazhong CNC to settle in Foshan. In 2016, Midea Group acquired a controlling stake in Kuka, one of the four major robot families.

Intelligent equipment such as robots, which have traditionally been mainly used in the automotive industry, are being more widely used in the manufacturing industry. Manufacturing in Foshan is also advancing in the direction of intelligence and digitization.

In 2017, Foshan implemented the “Hundred Enterprises Intelligent Manufacturing Improvement Project”, and at the same time made efforts to build a national robot independent innovation integration center. In 2022, Foshan also proposed to expand and strengthen new industrial clusters such as high-end equipment manufacturing and intelligent robots.

Wasu Robot Co., Ltd. is a local representative robot company in Foshan. Its application fields cover small household appliances, 3C electronics, kitchenware, automobiles, motorcycles, warehousing and logistics, etc. customer of. Yang Lin, executive deputy general manager of Foshan Wasu Robotics, told reporters that in the past 10 years, Wasu Robotics has successively conquered more than 400 core robot technologies, and the proportion of industrial robot core components is more than 80% autonomous.

Intelligent manufacturing is also largely reflected in the digital transformation of the original production system. Within 10 years, Baldor Technology has embarked on an upgrade path from “selling products” to “selling services”. 10 years ago, Baldor Technology, which was founded in the early days, is a traditional enterprise mainly engaged in air compressor trade and after-sales service. In 2015, Baldor Technology began to independently develop the “Balde Cloud” industrial Internet platform, which connects factories, service providers and air compressor end users, so that all air compressors can be operated in “Balde Cloud” through the Internet of Things technology. data exchange. Open the “Balde Cloud Compressed Air Management System” on your mobile phone, you can monitor the equipment operation of all customers in real time. At the same time, Baldor’s customers can also apply for repairs and seek after-sales service through the system online with one click.

“In terms of intelligent manufacturing, Foshan has upgraded very quickly according to the needs of local industries.” Xiao Geng told The Paper reporter that under the background of labor shortages, new technologies will find application scenarios in Foshan’s intensive industries.

Advanced technology can find a place to “settle down” in it, and it also allows the results of “intelligent manufacturing” to radiate to many areas of people’s daily life through the “one-stop shop” in Foshan, allowing thousands of households to benefit from manufacturing upgrades. fruit.

As a traditional manufacturing city, Foshan has developed processing trade by relying on resource endowments and geographical advantages for many years. In the past 10 years, Foshan’s industrial structure has been continuously optimized, and the advanced industry has obvious advantages. In 2021, the added value of advanced manufacturing industry will be 268.821 billion yuan, accounting for 49.4% of the industry above designated size, an increase of 17.9 percentage points over 2012.

With intensive and efficient production space, it echoes the ecological space with beautiful mountains and rivers. Over the past 10 years, the proportion of industries with backward production capacity and high energy consumption in Foshan has continued to decline. In 2021, the added value of the six high-energy-consuming industries will account for 17% of the added value of industrial enterprises above designated size, down 5 percentage points from 2012. From 2012 to 2021, Foshan’s energy consumption per unit of GDP has decreased by 47.97%.

Data speaks.