At the 2020 World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC) which was held virtually and hosted in Shanghai, SAP China’s global Senior Vice President and General Manager, Sam Li, stated that he believes SAP is uniquely positioned and prepared to become one of the main drivers for the development of artificial intelligence in China—particularly in the manufacturing industry.
During the virtual conference that gathered leading experts from all over the world who discussed the development, application, and trends in artificial intelligence technology, Li commented,
“As a global technology company with both business and R&D headquarters in Shanghai, SAP will help build a world-leading artificial intelligence co-innovation and technology center in Shanghai and actively promote the integrated development of artificial intelligence in China.”
He also notes that the key to making enterprises resilient is digital transformation—and that the advancement of artificial intelligence in China shows the most promise in ensuring companies are transformed into future-ready intelligent enterprises. He said,
“Just as digitalization has enabled China’s consumers to access life-essential services and stem the deadly chain of infection, digitalization in the business-to-business (B2B) sector to create intelligent and integrated enterprises will be the engine for economic recovery.”
According to SAP, digitalization is widely viewed as one of the key solutions for a sustainable recovery from the global COVID-19 pandemic. Through digitalization that leverages the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning, businesses are better equipped in:
- navigating volatile supply and demand
- adjusting to disruptions in business operations and supply chain
- allocating workforces efficiently
- adapting to abrupt changes in consumer behavior, confidence, and priorities
Investing in Artificial Intelligence
In March, it was reported that 13 major cities and provinces in China declared major investment plans and projects for 2020 in response to the global pandemic. Eight of these cities and provinces announced their budgets which in total amounts to 33.83 trillion yuan or US$4.8 trillion.
The plans aim to promote new investments and speed up construction on existing projects for the advancement of data centers, artificial intelligence, smart manufacturing, and 5G networks that are expected to revive the country’s economic activity. These investments are also anticipated to reinvigorate China’s manufacturing industry which saw a significant drop in productivity since 2008 due to the global financial crisis.
Indeed, a global study by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) states that the advancement of artificial intelligence in China will greatly contribute to the country’s economic growth. The study estimates artificial intelligence could contribute up to a 26 percent boost to the country’s GDP by 2030.
In the manufacturing industry, artificial intelligence, as well as machine learning, contribute to the creation of supply chain redundancy, enhanced remote operations, the advancement of process automation, industrial robotics, predictive maintenance, machinery inspection, and autonomous materials movement.
SAP’s digital manufacturing solutions (SAP ERP, SAP S4/HANA, SAP Manufacturing Execution, and SAP Manufacturing Integration and Intelligence) help organizations integrate their digital supply chain directives with the use of artificial intelligence and other future-facing technologies such as the Internet of Things, machine learning, blockchain, analytics, and Big Data. Leading manufacturing companies who have successfully implemented these SAP solutions include Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd., Pharmaniaga Berhad, Harman International Industries, Inc., Hanon Systems, and Landis+Gyr.