The World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting of the New Champions this year focuses on "Shaping Innovative Societies in the Fourth Industrial Revolution." Participants will discuss new technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), as well as the opening up of China's financial markets.
Escaping 'pilot purgatory,' entering Industry 4.0
Industry 4.0 is the label given to the blending of traditional manufacturing and industrial practices in an increasingly tech-centric global economy. Companies are trying to stand at the heart of Industry 4.0, as it can accelerate the automation and digitization of supply chains and production.
But Oliver Cann, the director of Public Engagement at the World Economic Forum, said that most industries still remain in “pilot purgatory,” which means that companies are trialing various digital manufacturing technologies but do not successfully roll them out at scale.
"The majority of businesses are still stuck in pilot mode, it's called 'pilot purgatory,' " said Cann. “The majority of companies are trying to use technology, but they do not quite get that right, they are not quite going to the goal.”
A new report from the World Economic Forum (WEF) and McKinsey & Company shows that less than 30 percent of manufacturing companies are actively rolling out Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies at scale.
Thus, Cann suggested that companies need to re-skill workers if they want to achieve the transformation of the industrial revolution.
“There's still knowledge to get,” Cann said, “human resources need to get prepared.”
China to further open up its financial market
Aside from the challenges to be overcome, new technology is a key focus in Industry 4.0. Advanced digital technology is used in manufacturing, and leads to greater efficiency. Experts say that China is one of the countries performing well and benefiting from technologies.
“We are going to have a lot of new products,” said Professor Zhu Ning from Tsinghua University. “We are going to have a lot of entrance into the market.”
Zhu said that new technologies could boost the opening up of China's financial market. The professor suggested that AI could help serve financial customers better and help with risk management.
China's financial opening is another key topic at the meeting. Panelists zoomed in on the next steps of China's financial reform process. In the afternoon sessions Tuesday, analysts discussed how additional financial opening needs to advance in lock-step with regulatory capacity, capital account reforms and managing financial risks.
Analysts at the meeting said that China's financial opening in just the past 18 months has been transformational. Peter Reynolds, a partner in Oliver Wyman's Financial Services sector, told CGTN that China's financial opening has attracted investment from overseas and he expects more progress to come.
“We see a lot of interest from our clients. Global businesses are thinking about coming to China. And we see a lot Chinese institutions going international. I think great progress has been made this year and lots more will come,” Reynolds said.