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Future sight: tech shines at 2024 Beijing auto show

This year’s Beijing International Automotive Exhibition, also known as Auto China 2024, has a lot of highlights and many new models. Chinese-branded carmakers have rolled out a lot of surprises, showing a strong strength on the electric and intelligent tracks. What new cars are the major original equipment manufacturers bringing to this year’s show? Let’s check it out.

China’s new quality productive forces provide opportunities to world, making high-tech more affordable

A visitor takes photos of an automated production line on display at the 135th session of the Canton Fair in Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong Province, on April 16, 2024. Photo: Chi Jingyi/GT

A visitor takes photos of an automated production line on display at the 135th session of the Canton Fair in Guangzhou, South China’s Guangdong Province, on April 16, 2024. Photo: Chi Jingyi/GT

A large number of foreign buyers were attracted by an intelligent forklift automated guided vehicle (AGV), stopping to watch and take photos and videos, upon entering the exhibition hall of intelligent automation and intelligent manufacturing at the ongoing 135th session of the Canton Fair.

But the buyers soon saw that industrial robots, automatic production lines and many other types of high-end manufacturing equipment are waiting to be explored. 

These high-tech products are a vivid display of China’s new quality productive forces, which not only empower the country’s economic transformation and high-quality development but can fuel the development of modern and intelligent industrialization around the world, especially in developing countries, said exhibitors and buyers.

“Following in the footsteps of many of our Chinese customers who built factories overseas, our intelligent forklift AGVs are going global to help make our customers’ factories more intelligent and automated,” Ma Feifei, brand director of Hefei Gen-song Intelligent Technologies Co, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

This has helped all countries and regions, especially developing ones, achieve industrialization, and enhanced the resilience and stability of industrial and supply chains in the world, said Ma, adding that Gen-song had received more than 100 inquiries about its products as of Tuesday, the second day of the Canton Fair.

“All of our AGVs are self-developed, including the brain – the control processors inside the AGVs,” Ma noted.

Andy Lee, sales manager of Zhejiang Jinaolan Machine Tool Co, told the Global Times on Tuesday that the company’s production lines for stamping were self-developed. 

Jinaolan is a supplier to manufacturers of new-energy lithium batteries, home appliances, automobiles and other items. Its fully automatic production line can eliminate about seven jobs, said Lee.

“Our annual export value is about 50 million yuan ($6.9 million) to 100 million yuan. This is our third time participating in the Canton Fair, and more and more overseas buyers have come to see our products. We have received some inquiries from buyers from Russia, Southeast Asia and Africa,” said Lee.

With more and more advanced technologies, together with China’s world-leading manufacturing level and stable supply chains, Chinese enterprises are making high-tech products more affordable for the world, industry insiders told the Global Times.

“The automation of loading goods from production lines to trucks is currently a gap in world logistics. Our products fill this gap. Many overseas buyers made inquiries these past two days, and many of them want to be our overseas agents. We have already received orders from Germany and Southeast Asian countries,” Liu Jinshi, chief engineer of Ston Robotics Changzhou Co, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

According to Liu, after the products come off the production line, the world uses forklift workers to put them onto trucks for shipping, which takes about three hours with one worker. It’s hard for AGVs to complete the complicated process. 

“The product we showcase – a gantry logistics robot – is an automatic product for loading, which can complete the loading operation in one or two minutes, fully automatically. 

“More importantly, the cost of our equipment is repaid in about a year, which is affordable for most factories,” said Liu, noting that their first participation in the Canton Fair is anticipated to be successful.

The gantry logistics robot was released last October after about seven years of research and development, Liu said.

The 135th session of the Canton Fair continues to embrace high-tech and intelligent manufacturing. There are more than 90,000 intelligent products from nearly 3,600 enterprises being showcased, such as brain-computer interface bionic hands and artificial intelligence translation machines. 

Over 1 million new products are expected to debut at the first phase of the 135th session of the fair, from Monday to Friday, themed “advanced manufacturing.” Of these, 450,000 are green and low-carbon items and more than 250,000 are products with independent intellectual property, the Global Times learned.

The increased presence of high-tech products at the fair is a proof that China is transforming from a labor-intensive manufacturer to a major technology-driven industrial powerhouse, meaning that China can provide the world with more high-quality products, analysts said.

With each visit to the fair, attendees are able to witness the emergence of new trends and technologies driving industry development, and identify potential investment or collaboration prospects, Bekar Mikaberidze, founder of the Belt and Road Georgian Business House and veteran Canton Fair visitor, told reporters on Tuesday.

China is in a critical period – shifting from large-scale economic development to high-quality development. Any economy has a period of rapid growth, and after that, most economies will return to moderate growth. 

The second phase of rapid growth can be achieved through productivity improvement, Pan Helin, a member of the Expert Committee for Information and Communication Economy under the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

“Therefore, new quality productive forces, new forms of industrialization and other industrial upgrading are all aimed at achieving China’s economic transformation and productivity improvement,” said Pan.