The rapid advancements in internet of things (IoT) technology will accelerate the deployment of smart manufacturing in China, company executives said on Friday.
Till Reuter, CEO of German robotics company Kuka AG, said automated machines have already been widely applied in sectors such as automobile. As it becomes more cost-effective to apply technologies such as IoT and artificial intelligence, an increasing number of factories will be upgraded.
"But machines should help men rather than replace men. This is the most important point for our development," Reuter said at the 2017 Fortune Global Forum in Guangzhou, Guangdong province.
Chinese home appliances maker Midea Group acquired Kuka earlier this year. The two companies are making steady progress in deepening product cooperation, Reuter said.
Borje Ekholm, president and CEO of Ericsson, said the development of 5G technology will help connect more things to the internet and help make factories intelligent.
"It will allow more flexible manufacturing process, and enable companies to mass-customize rather than just mass-produce products," he said.
China is investing heavily in 5G, which is seen as a critical infrastructure in the country. The commercial deployment of the next-generation mobile communication technology will start around 2019 in China, Ekholm added.