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Whether it is referred to as the Industrial Internet or Industrie 4.0, digitalization is currently on the agenda in every major economy. The approaches taken and the expectations raised are very different, as two new studies demonstrate.

"Around the world, digitalization of the economy is being approached from different angles," explains acatech President Henning Kagermann in the preface to the new Huawei survey "Industrie 4.0 im internationalen Vergleich" (An International Comparison of Industrie 4.0). "Whereas the focus in the USA is on innovative, user-oriented products and Internet technologies, Chinese companies are concentrating on applying already developed Industrie 4.0 technologies on a large scale," says Kagermann. The strength of German companies on the other hand "traditionally rests in high-quality production technologies for industrial customers, data analysis, and the excellent qualifications of its engineers and skilled workforce."

The recently published acatech survey "Industrie 4.0 im globalen Kontext" (Industrie 4.0 in a Global Context) attests to German industry’s "excellent conditions for setting up a key market and key providers for innovative Industrie 4.0 solutions." However, one prerequisite for this is to place international norms and standards in the context of Industrie 4.0. "Cooperative partnerships at national, European, and global levels between companies and institutions lend themselves to the ability to speak with authority internationally," according to acatech.

"The development of Industrie 4.0 is still in its infancy," concludes the Huawei survey: "None of the countries has such a great advantage that it can't be overtaken by the others. Currently, the USA appears to have the strongest position, but their relatively weak manufacturing trade is a potential problem." Germany is well positioned in terms of its broadness but it needs to compensate for its "relatively small ITC sector." "Japan has no clear weaknesses at the current stage; however the development of many indicators has stagnated or even shown negative tendencies for the past several years," state the researchers. Although China "when seen overall is behind the competition, it is catching up quickly, and the many Chinese industrial centers can hold their own with top global countries."

In order to position itself in terms of Industrie 4.0, China has been massively expanding its broadband volume since 2015. In addition, it launched its research funding program "Made in China 2025". At the moment, the Chinese science ministry is contracting out projects for mobile broadband communication and control technology for machine tools. HANNOVER MESSE's global events provide the opportunity to make connections with the Industrie 4.0 growth markets in China and North America. As a result, the world's leading trade fair, Industrial Automation, will not only be held in 2017 in Hannover but also in other important industrial centers in Asia, the Americas and Europe.

Opportunities to discover cooperative partnerships in China can be found in particular at Industrial Automation BEIJING (May 10 to 12, 2017), Industrial Automation SHENZHEN (June 28 to 30) and the Industrial Automation Show (IAS) in Shanghai (November 7 to 11). Bridges across the Atlantic can be built at the new Industrial Automation CANADA in Toronto (September 25 to 28) and Industrial Automation NORTH AMERICA in Chicago (November 6 to 9). Other appearances within the scope of Industrial Automation are possible at M&MT in Milan (October 4 to 6) and at WIN EURASIA Automation in Istanbul (March 16 to 19).