Upgrading Pathways of Intelligent Manufacturing in China: Transitioning across Technological Paradigms
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Zhou, Y., Zang, J., Miao, Z., & Minshall, T. (2019). Upgrading Pathways of Intelligent Manufacturing in China: Transitioning across Technological Paradigms. Engineering https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eng.2019.07.016
Intelligent technologies are leading to the next wave of industrial revolution in manufacturing. In developed economies, firms are embracing these advanced technologies following a sequential upgrading strategy—from digital manufacturing to smart manufacturing (digital-networked), and then to new-generation intelligent manufacturing paradigms. However, Chinese firms face a different scenario. On the one hand, they have diverse technological bases that vary from low-end electrified machinery to leading-edge digital-network technologies; thus, they may not follow an identical upgrading pathway. On the other hand, Chinese firms aim to rapidly catch up and transition from technology followers to probable frontrunners; thus, the turbulences in the transitioning phase may trigger a precious opportunity for leapfrogging, if Chinese manufacturers can swiftly acquire domain expertise through the adoption of intelligent manufacturing technologies. This study addresses the following question by conducting multiple case studies: Can Chinese firms upgrade intelligent manufacturing through different pathways than the sequential one followed in developed economies? The data sources include semi-structured interviews and archival data. This study finds that Chinese manufacturing firms have a variety of pathways to transition across the three technological paradigms of intelligent manufacturing in non-consecutive ways. This finding implies that Chinese firms may strategize their own upgrading pathways toward intelligent manufacturing according to their capabilities and industrial specifics; furthermore, this finding can be extended to other catching-up economies. This paper provides a strategic roadmap as an explanatory guide to manufacturing firms, policymakers, and investors.
This research is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (91646102, L1824039, L1724034, L1624045, and L1524015), the project of China’s Ministry of Education “Humanities and Social Sciences (Engineering and Technology Talent Cultivation)” (16JDGC011), CAE Advisory Project “Research on the strategy of Manufacturing Power towards 2035” (2019-ZD-9), the National Science and Technology Major Project “High-end Numerical Control and Fundamental Manufacturing Equipment” (2016ZX04005002), Beijing Natural Science Foundation Project (9182013), the Chinese Academy of Engineering’s China Knowledge Center for Engineering Sciences an Technology Project (CKCEST-2019-2-13, CKCEST-2018-1-13, CKCEST-2017-1-10, and CKCEST-2015-4-2), the UK–China Industry Academia Partnership Programme (UK-CIAPP\260), as well as the Volvo-supported Green Economy and Sustainable Development Tsinghua University (20153000181) and Tsinghua Initiative Research Project (2016THZW).
Research Development Management Association (RADMA) (Dominik Deradjat)
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eng.2019.07.016
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/295145
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