Shanghai key to unlock Yangtze River Delta region value in the digital age

Shanghai will be key for the Yangtze River Delta region to make it a gateway to the Asian Pacific region, by leveraging its lead in digital technologies, ABB Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ulrich Spiesshofer told the 29th annual meeting of the International Business Leaders Advisory Council (IBLAC) on Sunday.

The Yangtze River Delta generates more than 20% of China’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and it is among the country’s most advanced areas in terms of economic vitality, degree of openness, innovative ability and absorption of immigrants. As a leading city in the region, Shanghai boasts a well-developed transport network, a strong manufacturing base and a high level of connectivity, which lays a solid foundation to deploy ditigal technologies, Spiesshofer said.

By leveraging opportunities from industrial digital technologies, as well as the synergies between “Made in China 2025” initiative and the comprehensive city cluster development plan in the region, Shanghai can lead the delta region to a qauantum leap in growth as it moves toward the goal of building a world-class conurbation, Spiesshofer said.

He referred to the “BosWash” region in the United States and the so-called “Blue Banana” in Europe, which went through similar transitions. In a digitillizing, globalizing world, the paradigm of cities is shifting when smart cities, big data in manufacturing and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) are redefining the future of city clusters, Spiesshofer said.

In the Fourth Industrial Revolution, smart manufacturing and processes, intelligent services, shrewd energy initiatives, and unfettered communication and data exchange are not only benefiting factories and enterprises, but vastly elevating the growth and development prospects of cities and city clusers, the CEO added.

Government-led projects can drive innovation, promote regional development and unlock the full potential of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, he said referring to the German government’s role in the “Industrie 4.0” project as an example. The project helps factories and enterprises, powers sustainable urban and regional development as well as to increasse connectivity and German competitiveness in the process.

Spiesshofer said it is important to focus specifically on helping small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which are critical drivers of regional economic growth. “Fostering a strong spirit of cooperation among all stakeholders to facilitate the sharing of ideas and best practices; while leveraging the use of pilot projects as reference examples for leaders charged with project implementation are key to success,” he said.

ABB has an extensive portfolio of products that can help the Yangtze River Delta region and the city of Shanghai in that process. As a leading technology company, ABB can provide state-of-the-art ABB AbilityTM solutions to improve the Shanghai port’s operational efficiency and performance and enable ships to sail safely through complicated weather, helping both port and fleet operators with their digital transformation.

“To conclude, we remain optimistic about Shanghai’s future deveopment as always,” said Spiesshofer, “It is perfectly positioned to leverage industry leading digital solutions to further upgrade the extensive network that already links it to countries along the ‘Belt and Road’ routes and develop its smart services and logistics to glean new advantages in the high-tech, connected city cluster.”

Shanghai is a key base for ABB where it has its largest workforce in China. ABB set up its first joint venture in Shanghai in 1994. Today, ABB has more than 4,300 employees, one branch and seven local enterprises in Shanghai. ABB has also set up 10 global business centers in the city, including ABB Robotics Global Center and ABB global manufacturing base for its marine propulsion system, providing comprehensive support for the development of ABB China and global businesses.

ABB (ABBN: SIX Swiss Ex) is a pioneering technology leader in electrification products, robotics and motion, industrial automation and power grids, serving customers in utilities, industry and transport & infrastructure globally. Continuing more than a 125-year history of innovation, ABB today is writing the future of industrial digitalization and driving the Energy and Fourth Industrial Revolutions. ABB operates in more than 100 countries with about 132,000 employees. ABB has a full range of business activities in China, including R&D, manufacturing, sales and services, with 17,000 employees located in 139 cities, 40 local companies, and online and offline channels across over 300 cities.

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  • Grace Nan