February 23, 2024

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China’s SMEs Driving Innovation in Manufacturing

China’s medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) play a vital role in driving innovation in the manufacturing sector, with SMEs producing novel and distinctive products at the vanguard of this trend.

A medical technology company described a device that could assist individuals with mobility issues to walk without an external power source. The device, a passive wearable exoskeleton, supports the hip and knee joints of the human body using the mechanical and physical principle of the pendulum and the human body’s gravitation, thereby eliminating the need for a motor driving force. This ground-breaking innovation has the potential to transform the lives of people with impaired mobility by allowing them to walk independently.

Another company that specialises in providing integrated solutions for robotic systems in the energy industry has developed a wall-climbing inspection and cleaning robot that can travel on the surface of large metal cans via magnetic adhesion.

Equipped with a high-definition camera, the robot can collect images and detect flaws while cleaning, eliminating the inefficiency and dangers associated with manual detection in power plants. These are only a few examples of the cutting-edge technologies and products developed by China’s specialised and sophisticated SMEs.

According to Li Zibin, president of the China Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, specialised and advanced SMEs that produce novel and distinctive products are becoming the cradle of new industries, new business forms, and new models, propelling China’s manufacturing industry towards a more advanced, intelligent, and environmentally friendly development.

As reported by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, China has cultivated over 70,000 specialised and advanced SMEs that produce novel and unique products, with nearly 9,000 of them being “little giant” firms. These small and medium-sized enterprises are spurring innovation across multiple industries, from medical technology to energy, and creating new opportunities for economic expansion.

Numerous Chinese local governments have been actively instituting policies to foster the growth of specialised and advanced SMEs to encourage their expansion.

Liaoning Province, for example, has issued a work plan to improve the gradient training system for specialised and advanced SMEs, whereas Anhui Province has set a goal of establishing more than 5,000 provincial-level specialised and advanced enterprises by 2025, including 500 national-level specialised and advanced “little giant” firms.

Also, the Beijing Stock Exchange has recognised the importance of these SMEs and prioritised them, building a comprehensive market structure to provide full-chain services for their growth. Currently, over 70 specialised and sophisticated “little giant” corporations are registered on the Beijing Stock Exchange, accounting for 40% of the total 186 listed companies.

These SMEs, as Li Zibin pointed out, are not only driving innovation but also powering China’s change of its development mode, optimising the economic structure, and shifting the growth momentum. Specialised and sophisticated SMEs are propelling China towards a more modern, intelligent, and sustainable manufacturing industry with their original and unique goods. They are placing China as a global leader in technology development and economic growth as they continue to thrive and innovate.

By utilising cutting-edge technologies, these SMEs are providing solutions to a variety of problems, boosting efficiency, and propelling China towards a more advanced, intelligent, and environmentally friendly development. With the aid of favourable policies and market structures, these SMBs are likely to continue to thrive.

Technology innovation has become a significant growth catalyst for the nation’s SME sector. With favourable government policies, digitalisation, R&D investment, advanced manufacturing, collaboration, IP protection, and internationalisation, Chinese SMEs are increasingly leveraging technology to increase their global market competitiveness and create new opportunities.


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