Now we’re going to talk about the business trends in China for 2022 next year, we’re going to talk about innovation, about technology. I’m going to talk about the industries that we should really need to know. I’m going to tell you about the societal changes in China so how China is changing as a society. These trends for 2022 will be the next changes in China.
The next thing I want to talk about is innovation and technology and there I believe 2022 will really be the year of 5G and blockchain. I mean the whole industry 4.0 is going to change China and the whole world, everywhere, but 5G and block-chain are really going to get applied into society in 2022. This is all about remote and about trusted, remote with 5G and trusted with block-chain.
Now just last 2021 at the National People’s Congress, the government decided to invest 1.4 trillion US dollars, a huge amount of money into this digital age, into the industry 4.0 of tomorrow to make everything smarter. For 2021, what we saw is that a lot of that investment went into 5G and today after one year, China already has 300 cities, 300 large and smaller cities with full coverage of 5G. There are already 175 million 5G enabled smartphones sold in China,80% of the world’s 5G enabled communication is happening in China.
China has therefore become the world’s most connected region by 2021 and that will rebuild society by 2022. It means that all of a sudden it’s not just about infrastructure and the ability to download movies quickly, now all of a sudden the whole industry can change because everything can change from a distance, very well, they work more and more. We have seen that China over the past two years has invested in many new programs and one of them is self-driving cars that need 5G because there is so much information that can be managed.
So 5G is helpful with these self-driving cars but mainly we saw a lot of remote areas starting to form, think of telemedicine if you remember Wuhan locking in January, February, March, and April. However, what happened was that these doctors were not able to reach the city, in the province of Hunan so telemedicine was a good choice but also people were in trouble and therefore could get a doctor’s diagnosis far away, doctors could work with each other with realistic geographical information sharing.
Cool Technologies working on
All this 5G came alive and I am sure China has saved many lives, I don’t know how many but it saved lives because 5G is already working in China. Cool things like remote surgery are happening now, that is not much needed during the epidemic but it is interesting because China has a shortage of doctors and as a result, a doctor who may be based on 2000 km cannot operate on someone else in a remote village or clinic far away.
The most interesting trend that is happening so is about distance, you see remote mines emerge, many remote areas that are not possible with 5Gn so this, in my opinion, will change China in 2022. Now the other thing is the blockchain. In 2019, one year ago Xi Jinping announced that blockchain would be the most reliable new technology in China so while providing green light, all these industries, smart production, smart purchases, think smart investments, all these industries started to create block-chain applications.
This was just a year ago and you can see that in just 5-6 months, it was Spring this year when China created a network of blockchain services, a huge network of closures worldwide for everyone to access and so this is an amazing idea that they have now suddenly changed to build this place. . It has a lot to do with the fact that trust is often a problem within China, not only in China but within China, and when it comes to product quality, purchasing quality, production quality, they need something and a block-chain helps them.
Big Corporate Companies doing better jobs
Alibaba with Ant Financial has created the biggest series, they have the most patents in the blockchain world so they use this in real life. These are not exploration or evaluation projects, which use insurance claims as an example of hospitals and insurance companies and then Alipay so there are many partners, individuals or organizations involved.
So if they’re all on that block-chain then somehow you can create the technology which means that when somebody visits a hospital in China, they can pay with Alipay and only pay the part that they need to pay because the insurance will automatically be deducted, because that all goes through this trusted environment. Another thing that is going to change the world is trustfulness, this is just one example but there are going to be many more of them.
This is a technology coming out of Alibaba which is about creating a block-chain environment for trade specifically for cross-border trade. It means that when we want to do business with China, they will create all these block-chain environments or block-chain models and tokens so that you can actually have a safe transaction with China.
It means clearance documents for customs, shipping documents, contracts, anything in a trade that you would need, payments and so on are all going to be underlying with block-chain and so if we want to do business with China in the future, we will almost have to go on the Chinese block-chain to make sure that we get our products or we get paid and so on. So very interesting things happening and this is on a massive scale.
5G and Environment
What we need to remember is that 5G will create more remote environments, it’s going to be more augmented, it’s going to be more virtual, it’s going to create a lot of new environments that we can live in but it’s specifically going to connect people from far away with home and so that is that new 5G environment and block-chain will create a more trustworthy industry than it is today, two things China really needs.
Now the next thing is about labor-intensive industries and I want to talk about that because the image we often have when we talk or think about China is an image about lots of cheap labor and there are still a lot of poor people in China so there’s still a lot of cheap labor, and so all these cheap products are built in factories that basically are done by cheap labor. Now, this is changing in 2022, the trends of next year are really going to be about creating these labor-intensive industries in smarter industries, more customized productions, and also much more automated.
One of the industries that I think will completely be disrupted in 2022 which we haven’t talked much before about, is the whole agriculture and farming industry. So you’ll see that the whole IoT or whole industry 4.0 like face recognition, temperature checking for pigs for example to know if they are pregnant or if they’re healthy, or cows if they’re actually eating enough and stuff like that, all that is possible with industry 4.0 that can be used remotely, that will be used and is being used today already for crops, for more efficient farming, vertical farming.
All these things are happening and it’s a combination of an old labor industry that is now transformed into a fewer people-intensive industry and more technology-intensive industries. Big things are going to happen. The second thing is about healthcare and as I said with 5G, a lot of it is going to go remote but because of its lack of doctors, you’re going to see this boom like nowhere else in China. Telemedicine is the opportunity of 2022 that I foresee in health care and it’s going to go so fast that there are going to be almost no Chinese that are not getting diagnosed or helped through their smartphone anymore after 2022.
The other industry that will completely get disrupted is the logistics and smart supply chain. We already saw the logistics in China with deliveries of couriers and food like the Deliveroo of China ‘Meituan’, we already saw that is years ahead of the West but this is about people often still delivering all these products, this is the last mile.
What’s now going to change is everything before the last mile, this is everything between production, the factory, and the last mile and the part that will get much more intelligent is the supply chain and with cool deliveries for food that need to be on a lower temperature and stuff like that is all going to be more optimized using technology, 5G, using a lot of IoT, using everything to track and control that it all comes outright. The big change is going to happen in 2022 in that area: supply chain.
The next one I think is going to be manufacturing. Manufacturing is something that has already been going on for a number of years, four or five years, that China has automated their factories with a lot more robots, they actually tripled the number of robots in four years. What you saw is that it’s almost at the same level as a country like Germany these days. So it’s really lots of automated factories. Now it’s going to go into more customized production, into more personalized manufacturing.
What that means is that when people buy online and they say. I want this kind of sneakers and this kind of shirt, I want this and that, or I want a product. A real physical product that you could use like a chair or whatever and they want it a little bit different, then you could just put your request online and when you click ‘I want to buy that now, the factory already starts picking, placing and producing it directly.
Factories are going to be extremely smart, not because they became smarter in their operations and more efficient but because they have knowledge from the market and that is going to be one big difference. The last trend that I think we should watch in 2022 is the government services and smart city services. We don’t often talk about it but China has created an extremely smart city service, much better than digitalization.
We see in many of the Western countries and so we can learn from China because not only have these smart cities become a lot smarter in the last years, we’ve actually now seen that all these cities and these local mayors and local institutions have offered great services to their citizens so a lot to learn there. To summarize I would say that it’s really about labor industries or labor-intensive industries that are becoming much smarter. We shouldn’t always look at self-driving cars and lots of things that are really cool in China but look at those labor industries because these are going to get transformed and become more competitive with the West.